Clavelle television ad criticizes Douglas’ drug policy

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(Host) Democrat Peter Clavelle has launched the first television ad of the gubernatorial campaign with criticism of Governor Jim Douglas’s policy on prescription drugs. VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) The 30-second ad uses a touch of humor to underscore Peter Clavelle’s argument that Governor Douglas has done little to allow Vermonters to buy prescription drugs from Canada.

The ad shows Clavelle stuck in traffic behind a large car that looks very much like the governor’s — except the back of this sedan is decorated with bumper stickers for both Douglas and President Bush.

(Ad audio) Jim’s dragging his feet, preventing Vermonters from buying safe lower prescription drugs from Canada, waiting for George Bush to say it’s okay. Beep Beep! We don’t need to wait for Jim and George! You can get low-cost prescription drugs on my web site…

(Dillon) The Douglas campaign says the ad is factually misleading. According to the campaign, Douglas has set up a multi-state bargaining pool to lower the cost of prescription drugs for state government. The governor also supports the concept of re-importing drugs from Canada. But he has been unwilling to challenge a US Food and Drug Administration ban on reimportation.

Neale Lunderville is the governor’s campaign chairman.

(Lunderville) “It’s disappointing that right out of the gate Peter Clavelle goes into a negative and misleading attack on the governor. The governor’s record on working to lower the cost of prescription drugs is strong. If you look back on that record you’ll see that the governor is one of two governors nationwide that led the fight to create a first in the nation prescription drug bargaining pool. The governor has also pressured Congress and the President to legalize prescription drug reimportation.”

(Dillon) Clavelle’s campaign points out that the Burlington mayor has already set up a re-importation plan without the blessing of the federal government.

B.J. Rogers, the campaign spokesman, says the ad is fair and accurate.

(Rogers) “You know, an assertion that this ad is negative is preposterous. This is an ad that does two things primarily. One, it highlights an issue that’s important to many Vermonters. And the other is it provides a contrast, a contrast between the leadership styles of Jim Douglas and Peter Clavelle, and while Peter Clavelle has moved forward and implemented a third in the nation program… to allow city employees to purchase their prescription drugs from Canada at a lower cost, Jim Douglas has sat on his hands and waited for George Bush to grant him permission.”

(Dillon) Rogers says the ad was timed to air during the Democratic convention, while the public’s attention turns to the issues of the election season.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon.

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