Bush would halt tobacco suit / He'd end U.S. effort, retain deal with states
ABOARD THE BUSH CAMPAIGN TRAIN, Mich. -- A Bush administration would not continue the Justice Department's suit against the tobacco industry to recover Medicare costs, Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush said yesterday during an interview with
"I think we've had enough suits," the Texas governor said on the rear platform of his campaign train as it traveled across rural Michigan.
"I don't think you can sue your way to policy," he said. "We've had this giant series of lawsuits that the industry settled where the states ended up with a lot of money. I think what we ought to do now is work on preventing
children from smoking and at the same time keep the compact [between the states and the industry] in place."
The Clinton administration filed suit against the industry last year seeking more than $500 billion in payments to make up for the cost to Medicare of treating tobacco-related diseases. Republicans in Congress have tried to block money to pay for the litigation, but the administration has vowed to keep it alive.
"The lawyers I talk to don't feel they [the Justice Department] have a case," Bush said.
Bush agreed to talk about his tobacco policy as he waved to people who had gathered at railroad crossings and in back yards to see the presidential candidate's train pass by.