Waiting for Dubya

The presidential candidate is a late arrival to the nation's health-care crisis

Outside the clinic, local residents suspiciously eye the satellite vans, limousines and police cars parked on every corner. The $75 million taken in by Bush for President Inc. during the past year is 10,928 times more than what the U.S. Census Bureau says is the median household income in this neighborhood.

What the campaign spent on "media expenses" alone is twice as much as the Grace Hill Neighborhood Health Center's annual $10 million budget, which in 1999 provided primary health and dental care to more than 28,000 low-income and homeless people. For that matter, what the campaign spent on its credit-card service charges in February -- $9,704 -- is more than the average $6,863 pulled in each year by local households.

George W. Bush smiles, clears his throat and looks down at the papers in his hand.

"Thank you," he says, reading directly from the prepared speech. "It's a pleasure to be in St. Louis...."

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