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Dukakis Cautions Against Overconfidence But Focuses On Contest With Bush With PM-Political

May 3, 1988

Dukakis Cautions Against Overconfidence But Focuses On Contest With Bush With PM-Political Rdp Bjt

BOSTON (AP) _ Democrat Michael Dukakis is looking ahead to the November election with calls for Vice President George Bush to provide more information about his role in the Iran-Contra affair and the Reagan administration’s dealings with Panama.

The Democratic front-runner also turned aside criticism from Jesse Jackson, but continued to avoid any sharp attacks on his Democratic rival.

Dukakis was back home in Boston today, after a day of primary-eve campaigning in Ohio and Indiana where he held a substantial lead in the polls. The District of Columbia is holding a primary today too, with Jackson seen as sure to win there.

Dukakis, trying to prevent overconfidence in his camp, urged supporters to disregard the polls in Ohio and Indiana.

″This is not over,″ he said. ″It’s very, very important that we get a big turnout.″

At the same time, though, the Democratic front-runner was warming up for a fall campaign against Bush.

Bush has been criticizing Dukakis for foreign policy inexperience, and did so again Monday. Dukakis in turn questioned the administration’s dealings with Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega, who is under U.S. indictment on drug charges, and Bush’s role in other foreign policy matters including the Iran-Contra affair.

″This administration for the past 7 1/2 years has broken the law. ... I think the vice president has to address the issue,″ he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

″I want to know why we were doing business with Noriega, why they were paying off Noriega, why they were doing business with a drug-running Panamanian dictator,″ he told reporters in Cleveland. ″That’s the first thing we need, a full explanation, and I think the people of America are entitled to it.″

Earlier, Dukakis said Bush was promising to be ″the education president″ without saying whether he opposed administration cutbacks in college financial aid programs.

″I don’t know where the vice president stands on education,″ Dukakis said. ″I don’t know if he has a program.″

In addition to criticism from Bush, Dukakis has come under increasing fire from Jackson in recent days. But Dukakis refused to respond directly.

″I hope we can keep it positive,″ he said upon arriving in Boston. ″While we have some differences, we respect each other.″

In Cleveland, responding to Jackson’s suggestion that he lacks leadership, Dukakis ticked off his administration’s accomplishments, including his state’s 2.9 percent unemployment rate and legislation providing health care for all workers.

″That’s a lot of fire and a lot of productivity,″ Dukakis said. ″I’m not just a talker. I’m a doer. There’s no question about my record.″

In an interview with Japanese television, Dukakis said he would try to negotiate a trade agreement with Japan that accommodated both nations. He also called on Japan to increase its aid to developing nations.

″I would also hope that Japan could do a great deal in Third World countries with its surpluses,″ he said.

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