Democrat presidential candidate Al Gore spent the past 20 hours in Iowa, mostly touting his proposal to provide prescription drug coverage to America’s elderly. Gore staged a mid-day rally outdoors in downtown Des Moines to pump up his partisans. Gore classifies his race against George W. Bush as a nail-biter. He says Iowa could play a decisive role in the election and he asked for Iowa’s help.Gore says the race isn’t about politics, but about policies. He says there has been some progress over the last eight years, but he says he’s not satisfied and wants to make it better still.Gore began the day, though, at a forum in Altoona where he heard from 79-year-old Winifred Skinner. Her monthly income is just over 900 dollars — and her prescription drugs cost almost 300 dollars. To make ends meet, she collects bottles and cans. Gore asked her how much money she made collecting cans. Skinner said she’d tell him if he didn’t “tell the government.” Gore laughed, and said he would withdraw the question.Gore’s idea is to have all senior citizens get prescription drug coverage through Medicare — and Gore said his opponent George Bush’s alternative plan would not provide prescription drug coverage for 95 percent of America’s seniors. Polk City pharmacist Jerry Karbeling says even his well-to-do elderly customers worry they won’t be able to afford their prescriptions.It’s Gore second trip to Iowa since securing his party’s presidential nomination in August. Gore said he’d spent so much time campaigning here in advance of last January’s Caucuses, he could probably register to vote in Iowa.Gore left Iowa for D-C, then it’s on to Cape Cod, where he’ll retreat to prepare for his October 3rd debate with George Bush.
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