- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 6, 2000

The Democratic National Committee is about to air a new television ad attacking Texas Gov. George W. Bush, citing a federal judge's order to improve health care for poor children in Texas.
The DNC attack comes days after Vice President Al Gore's campaign called a Republican attack ad about his credibility "an act of desperation."
The escalating ad wars illustrate the testiness of a race that is coming down to a cluster of swing states, most in the Rust Belt.
The Democratic ad, which will begin running tomorrow in nine states, says Texas ranks 49th out of 50 states in the percentage of children who have health insurance. The DNC previewed the ad as Mr. Bush detailed his health care plans for senior citizens.
"George Bush says he has a plan to improve children's health care," an announcer says in the 30-second spot. "But why hasn't he done it in Texas?"
The ad says, "It's so bad a federal judge just ruled Texas must take immediate corrective action." The ad ends with the tag line: "Bush's record: It's becoming an issue."
Bush spokesman Dan Bartlett said the ad is part of the Democrats' "$30 million distortion" of Mr. Bush's record.
"Texas is doing a better job than the nation as a whole does when it comes to providing health and dental care to children enrolled in Medicaid," he said.
Last week Judge William Wayne Justice issued a 175-page order charging that Texas is in violation of a 1996 consent decree because it is not providing adequate health care to more than 1.5 million children eligible for Medicaid.
Mr. Bush dismissed the order as the work of a liberal activist judge. Judge Justice, appointed in 1968 by President Johnson, is a self-described judicial activist. In 1995, the CBS program "60 Minutes" called him the most liberal federal judge in Texas.
The Democratic ad is to run in several states seen as tossups in the Nov. 7 election Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas and Maine.
Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a Democrat, criticized Mr. Bush at a Washington news conference the DNC called yesterday to preview the ad.
"It is unconscionable that a man who has adopted 'Leave no child behind' as his slogan is leaving 1.5 million children behind," Mr. Glendening said.
The Bush campaign said the lawsuit dates back to 1993 and the tenure of former Democratic Gov. Ann Richards.
In 1996, Texas agreed to 148 remedial actions to clear up problems in a health program for poor children. The Bush campaign said Texas has met 139 provisions and nine others remain in dispute.
Last week the Gore campaign accused Mr. Bush of "an act of desperation" after the Republican National Committee aired an ad that questions Mr. Gore's credibility.
That ad, which began airing Friday in 17 battleground states, mentioned Mr. Gore's claims about taking a leading role in inventing the Internet and Mr. Gore's presence at a 1996 fund-raiser at a Buddhist temple in California.
"Who's he going to be today?" a woman narrator said. "The Al Gore who raises money at a Buddhist temple, or the one who promises campaign finance reform?"
Mr. Bush said that ad did not violate his pledge to run a positive campaign.
"I thought it was tongue-in-cheek," Mr. Bush told reporters. "This ad came up after about $30 million of advertisements that had been attacking me and my record and I'm glad [the RNC] came to my defense."
In May, the Sierra Club aired ads in Ohio, Michigan and Missouri criticizing Mr. Bush's environmental record. During the Republican National Convention, the DNC ran ads that said Mr. Bush "protects polluters" and cut taxes for Texas oil companies.
The Republican National Committee also has leveled charges at Mr. Gore.
In August, the RNC ran an ad in the Midwest that defended Mr. Bush's environmental record. The same ad charged that Mr. Gore let companies mine zinc from a family property in Tennessee and the miners have been cited for polluting a source of drinking water.
The Gore camp said the vice president "has always insisted that the companies that operate the mine on his property do so in a way that doesn't harm the environment."
This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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