HIGHTOWER: Bob Dole: Marlboro Man

There's a new Marlboro Man riding-in from Kansas straight for the White House. With his craggy face and a pocketfull of smokes, this mysterious new Marlboro Man is none other than: Bob Dole."Tobacco Bob," they call him in Washington, where he's become chief wrangler for the industry that kills half-a-million Americans every year with its addictive products -- including the original Marlboro Man. In its latest issue, Mother Jones magazine documents the extraordinary partnership between Big Tobacco and "Tobacco Bob." He's engineered a $250-million special tax break for the industry, he's halted Senate investigations of efforts to boost nicotine levels in cigarettes and he's used his position as majority leader to oppose FDA plans to stop tobacco sales to our children. Now, as the Republican candidate for president, Dole has promised the tobacco giants that he will fire FDA head David Kessler and put-in someone more sympathetic to them.To keep Bob "smokin'" the tobacco companies have given Dole $330,000 in campaign contributions so far, plus indirectly funding his campaign by putting $2.4 million into the Republican Party's campaign saddlebags. RJ Reynolds has also donated half-a-million dollars to sponsor the Republican Convention that will nominate the old cowpoke for president in August. And when they're not giving him cash, they're giving him a ride -- U.S. Tobacco has served as Dole's trusty horse, providing its corporate jet to take him wherever he wants to go."Tobacco Bob's" sidekicks get-in on the action too -- his former chief-of-staff, who now chairs "Lawyers for Dole," is a Washington lobbyist whose firm represents RJ Reynolds, Philip Morris and other tobacco giants.Yipeee-Ti-Yi-Yo, Git Along Little Dolie! To learn more about "Tobacco Bob," lasso a copy of this month's Mother Jones magazine.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.