WHITE, S.D. (AP) _ Lloyd Bentsen, visiting the farm community where his grandfather first settled in America, renewed his counterattack Tuesday against what he called Republican ''lies and distortions'' about Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis.

''They say Governor Dukakis opposes the Stealth bomber. And I'm here to tell you that's a lie, and they know it,'' Bentsen said.

''They say Governor Dukakis opposed deployment of the Pershing II missile. And that's a lie, and they know it,'' he said.

The Democrats and Republicans plan to spend the same amount on defense - but the Democrats would ''spend those dollars smarter,'' he said, for ''planes that fly, guns that work, ammunition and spare parts.''

''I think the American people want better than lies and distortions in this campaign,'' he said, challenging Bush to drop his ads attacking Dukakis' defense positions.

The Texas senator, who usually campaigns in states with the most electoral votes, was in a state with the fewest - three. He spoke in a school auditorium to a crowd that was about double the White, S.D., population of 474, and was greeted like a team at a homecoming, with a band, pompon girls and loud cheering.

Shops around town had greetings in the windows, and one street was renamed Bentsen Blvd. for the day.

The senator dropped by the Palace Cafe and Hotel to visit with some elderly women from the town who went to school with Bentsen's 94-year-old father, Lloyd Sr. They told of still receiving gifts of fruit from the elder Bentsen, who now lives near McAllen, Texas.

Getting his father on the phone after a while, the senator assured him ''they even told some good things about you.'' The phone got handed around the table and they talked of the one-teacher school where Lloyd Sr. made it through the fifth grade.

The luncheonette's special of the day: The Bentsen Burger, which at three bucks included potatoes, vegetable, dessert and coffee.

Bentsen helped dedicate the historical museum for the town, which was surrounded by sheep, cattle and the fields where Bentsen said his grandfather Peter first homesteaded after arriving from Denmark in 1887. The family survived the first winter in a sod hut by burning straw for heat.

Back on the subject of the election, he said the Republicans' campaign ''robs the heart of democracy. It deprives you of the opportunity to judge the issues and the candidates.''

As the Democrats ''spent critical weeks'' developing solutions to problems such as health care, education, and housing, ''all the while our opponents campaigned with a total disregard for the truth,'' he said. It was the first time Bentsen has offered a reason why the Democrats failed to quickly counter the Republican attacks.

Bentsen delivered the same message later in the day, after arriving at a West Fargo, N.D., rally on a stagecoach.

Wearing blue jeans, a leather jacket and a Western hat, Bentsen and a local farmer named Jim Haugland drove a team of four Clydesdales into a livestock show area while more than 700 supporters hollered their approval.

Bentsen's visit Tuesday to the Dakotas and Montana was the second trip to the region by the Democratic ticket since he and Michael Dukakis stopped in Minot, N.D., immediately after the Democratic convention in July. Dukakis had a rally in Fargo earlier this month.

Bentsen told reporters on his campaign jet that while there were only 10 electoral votes between the three states, ''it might make the difference.''

''Nobody has paid any attention to these states,'' he said.

Sen. Tom Daschle, Minnesota Senate candidate Hubert Humphrey III, North Dakota Gov. George Sinner, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., joined Bentsen on stage at the school, which had an enormous American flag as a backdrop.