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Gore blasts Bush on environment

Gore addresses audience at Manhattan's Beacon Theater
Gore addresses audience at Manhattan's Beacon Theater

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• The Candidates: Bush | Kerry
Natural resources
Al Gore
George W. Bush
Global Change

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Former Vice President Al Gore on Thursday called President Bush a "moral coward" who caves in to campaign contributors at the expense of the nation's environment.

Gore said the Bush administration appears to be "wholly owned by the coal, oil, utility and mining industries."

"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," Gore said.

He accused the administration of listening to "pseudo-scientific" front groups funded by the energy industry while ignoring a "broad-based consensus" within the scientific community about the threat of global warming.

Gore made the remarks during a speech on the environment at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan. The speech was co-sponsored by the liberal activist group and Environment 2004 Education Fund.

The former vice president, who as the Democratic nominee lost to Bush in the disputed 2000 election, also criticized a new Bush administration initiative to send astronauts back to the moon, calling it an "unimaginative and retread effort."

"We should focus instead on a massive effort to ensure that the Earth is habitable for future generations," Gore said.

He also criticized the Bush administration for cutting cleanup at toxic waste sites and making alterations to the Clean Air Act.

"They are radical changes that reverse a century of American policy designed to protect our natural resources," he said.

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