Gao Finds Bush Medicare Ads Misleading

WASHINGTON – Campaign for America’s Future Co-director Roger Hickey today demanded that television networks pull President Bush‘s Medicare ads off the air because the General Accounting Office found them misleading. The General Accounting Office Wednesday said that the Bush Administration’s $22 million taxpayer-funded campaign to sell its new prescription drug law to the public misrepresents benefits millions of people will receive.

GAO General Counsel Anthony Gamboa said President Bush’s Medicare advertisements are flawed by “omissions and other weaknesses,” use a “political tone,” and can be considered “an attempt to persuade the public to the administration’s point of view.”

STATEMENT OF ROGER HICKEY

The Bush ads are flawed. Critics of the Bush Medicare bill have been joined by the General Accounting Office, whose investigation confirms that the taxpayer-funded ad campaign is misleading.

The ads — produced by Bush-Cheney campaign consultants — are designed to sell Bush’s Medicare plan to the public with taxpayer funds. They misrepresent the benefits millions of people will receive. The ads are full of errors and omit important information at a time of political debate, when government-sponsored advertising should be scrupulously non-partisan.

The ads are clearly an attempt to sell an unpopular, inadequate and controversial Bush program. The Bush administration needs to do this, because the public isn’t buying. The more people learn about the truth, the more they dislike the President’s plan.

The Campaign for America’s Future and groups around the country have told television networks and their affiliated local stations that they have a responsibility to pull these ads off the air because the GAO found them misleading. And CBS has special responsibility to do so, because CBS, while acknowledging that the HHS-Bush ads are controversial, has continued to air them, while refusing MoveOn’s request to buy time for TV spots criticizing the Bush prescription drug program.

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