Gore: Cheney tactic "sleazy and despicable"

Published September 9, 2004 4:14PM (EDT)

Dick Cheney's "vote for us or you'll pay with your life" comments earlier this week shocked many people, but Cheney hasn't retracted his statement. When Bush was asked about Cheney's comments yesterday, he just stared at the reporter. Aides to Cheney said his language may have been a bit harsh, but the underlying message was right on. As Adam Nagourney pointed out in today's New York Times, Republicans may express more delicately in the weeks ahead the notion that voting for Kerry is akin to begging for another 9/11 -- but this threat will certainly be repeated in one form or another until Election Day.

This outrageous fear tactic -- and a counterintuitive one, really, when you consider who was in office on 9/11 -- has been condemned by Democrats and many opinion writers. And now Al Gore joins in with this spot-on assessment:

"In remarks prepared for a speech to the United Steelworkers of America, the former vice president accused President Bush and Cheney of using fear to promote their re-election because they have what he called a "failed record" on the economy, health care and the war in Iraq."

"'The claim by Bush and Cheney that the American people must give them four more years in office or else be 'hit hard' by another terrorist attack is a sleazy and despicable effort to blackmail voters with fear,' Gore said."

"'They are going back to the ugliest page in the Republican playbook: fear,' he said. 'They're not even trying to convince you to vote for George Bush. Their only hope is to try and make you too afraid to vote for John Kerry. It's the lowest sort of politics imaginable.'"

By Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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