With a near-record low temperature and single-digit wind chill in New York City, former Vice President Al Gore took to the podium in Manhattan’s Beacon Theater today to blasted President Bush for contributing to “global warming.”
Calling Bush a “moral coward,” Gore said the president’s policies are meant only to accommodate his financial contributors, the Associated Press reported.
The former presidential candidate, who lost to Bush in 2000, claimed in his speech it sometimes appeared “the Bush-Cheney administration is wholly owned by the coal, oil, utility and mining industries.”
As a bitterly cold wind gusted up to 18 miles per hour outside the building, Gore hammered Bush on the environment, saying the president’s policies have contributed to “global warming.”
Before the speech, a spokeswoman for MoveOn.org, which sponsored the event, tried to downplay the irony of today’s New York weather.
“Maybe [the speech] won’t apply in New York right now, but Vice President Gore will be highlighting the effects of global warming in different parts of the world,” Lisa Sabori told the New York Post. “We don’t control the environment.”
In a pre-speech press release, MoveOn.org, the controversial group that gave a platform to proposed television commercials comparing Bush to Adolf Hitler, said Gore would “show that global warming is happening right now.”
Gore’s speech follows a familiar pattern of Bush criticism. He previously accused the president of cracking down on civil liberties since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and mishandling post-war Iraq.
“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,” said Gore, according to AP.
The event was co-sponsored by a group called Environment 2004.
The Bush administration conceded to environmentalists who have warned of global warming in 2002 when it released a climate report to the United Nations detailing specific and far-reaching effects that it said global warming will inflict on the American environment. In the report, the administration for the first time mostly blames human actions for recent global warming. It says the main culprit is the burning of fossil fuels that send heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Amy Ridenour, president of The National Center for Public Policy Research, criticized Gore’s speech.
“From a scientific and environmental perspective, Al Gore’s speech today should be ignored. No serious policy person could give the speech Al Gore gave today,” Ridenour said in a statement. “The speech is full of demagoguery, misleading statements, formulations intended to deceive, unsupported allegations of wrongdoing and hypocrisy.
“It is impossible to draw any conclusion other than that Gore is keeping his options open for a future presidential run and is throwing red meat at the left-wing activist base of the Democratic Party in order to keep his presidential hopes alive.”
Said Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., in response to the speech: “It is fitting that Gore chose one of the coldest days of the year to spread false information about the Bush administration’s record on global warming. Mother Nature didn’t agree with his message and neither do I. Al, it’s cold outside.”