Friday, February 4, 2000
The Washington Post, Page A04
By John Mintz / Washington Post Staff Writer
See related article George W. Bush Soft on Tobacco
With his presidential hopes on the rise, John McCain came
under attack yesterday not only from the Bush campaign
but also from allies of cigarette companies angry about his
support for anti-tobacco legislation.
The National Smokers Alliance, a tobacco industry-
supported group, began running ads in the state, where
tobacco is a major cash crop, criticizing the Arizona senator
for distorting his role in promoting unsuccessful legislation
that would have raised the price of cigarettes.
At a news conference in Seabrook, S.C., McCain said he
welcomed assaults by the tobacco industry and said they
underscored his call for changes in the campaign finance
system. "I'm honored by the attacks by the people who
addicted our children and lied to Congress," he said. "I hope
that they will spend more money because that authenticates
this crusade of ours to get the influence of special interests
out of politics."
McCain alienated cigarette executives in 1998 when he
promoted a bill in the Senate that would have imposed a
$1.10-a-pack hike in cigarette taxes; under his proposal,
the increase would have had to be passed on to consumers.
The ad, sponsored by the nonprofit National Smokers
Alliance, criticizes McCain for his repeated statements
recently, in an attempt to appeal to tax-hating Republicans,
that he has never voted for a tax increase. "Saying one
thing and doing another, that's the real John McCain," said
Texas Gov. George W. Bush, McCain's chief rival for the
GOP nomination, has a mixed record on tobacco,
sometimes at odds with the industry. But he also helped to
protect companies from large damage claims and played
no role in the state's lawsuit against the tobacco industry
that reaped a $17 billion settlement for Texas.
The alliance is spending $25,000 on the ads, which will run
about 1,000 times in three South Carolina cities.
Staff writer Edward Walsh, traveling with McCain,
contributed to this report.
Statement by Philip Morris U.S.A.
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 3, 2000--Philip Morris
U.S.A. learned today that the National Smokers Alliance is
sponsoring ads in South Carolina attacking Republican
presidential candidate John McCain. Philip Morris does
not in any way support or condone these ads. In fact, in
June 1999 the Company announced that it was withdrawing
financial support to the National Smokers Alliance in
reaction to an ethics complaint filed against Senator McCain.
source: Bill Godshall