Gore Calls Bush a “Moral Coward” in Speech on Environment

The Bush administration is “wholly owned by the coal, oil, utility, and mining companies,” said former Vice President Al Gore in a fiery address to a packed theater in New York City on Thursday. The speech — fourth in a series cosponsored by activist group MoveOn.org and Democratic group Environment 2004 — took the administration to task for its disregard for global warming, destructive rollbacks of air and water protections, and secret consultations with industry in formulating policy. Prompting one of several standing ovations, Gore claimed, “While President Bush likes to project an image of strength and courage, the real truth is that in the presence of his large financial contributors he is a moral coward, so weak that he seldom, if ever, says ‘no’ to them on anything, no matter what the public interest might mandate.” Republican National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie, since 2000 a prim believer in political Queensbury Rules, called Gore’s address “political hate speech.”