Weygand Leads 65-25; Licht Airs First Ad (posted June 24, 2000)

Democratic Senate candidate Robert Weygand (D-RI) this week released a survey of 405 likely voters that showed him leading primary opponent Richard Licht by 65 to 25 percent, with 10 percent yet to make up their minds.

This week also marked the start of the official "air war" for Senate with Licht broadcasting his first television commercial on prescription drugs for senior citizens. The spot, which shows Licht talking into the camera about his drug plan accompanied by colorful graphics, describes the following details of the commercial:

*it would cost Medicare $41 billion to cover prescription drug costs for the elderly

*Licht would pay for the program by closing corporate tax loopholes

*it would cost senior citizens anywhere from $24 to $50 a month to join the program

*there would be "no copayments, no annual limits in coverage, and no deductibles" according to the Providence Journal

The ad marks the importance of health care in a state with a large number of elderly voters. By pitching his campaign to prescription drug coverage for senior citizens, Licht is hoping to build support for his Senate campaign among a demographic group that is politically engaged and involved.

For his part, Weygand has announced his support for a bill that "would authorize Medicare to negotiate deep discounts from drug companies by buying in bulk for the entire country. Weygand's plan would cap drug benefits and require Medicare recipients to make copayments."

The issue is sure to become a source of contention between the two candidates given the differences in financing and copayment requirement of the plans.

Source: Providence Journal