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Bush Blasts Dukakis on Taxes; Dukakis to View Yellowstone Damage

September 15, 1988

Undated (AP) _ George Bush, taking a cue from the Olympic Games that begin Saturday, declared today that presidential rival Michael Dukakis is an Olympic champion ″in the tax-and-spend competition.″ Dukakis traveled to Wyoming to view damage and praise firefighters at Yellowstone National Park.

Bush said at a breakfast of the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, ″My opponent still says he wants to do for the nation what he has done for Massachusetts. That slogan is beginning to sound more and more like a threat.″

Dukakis has indeed pointed with pride to his state’s economic condition. However, Bush said of the governor: ″The judges have made their final decision. ... If this were the Olympics, his composite score would make him the gold medal winner in the tax-and-spend competition.″

Meanwhile, Dukakis’ Democratic running mate, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, declared today in Dallas that ″the polls have turned around″ and that Republicans’ ″outrageous charges on patriotism″ had created a backlash among voters.

Sen. Dan Quayle, Bush’s running mate, said today in Oklahoma City that ″I will be delighted to compare my qualifications″ to those of Dukakis, who has been suggesting voters wouldn’t be wise to put the Indiana senator ″a heartbeat away″ from the presidency.

The Bush campaign began airing in California an anti-Dukakis ad saying the Massachusetts governor had a chance to clean up Boston Harbor but chose not to, raising the cost when the job eventually is done.

The Democratic nominee, completing three days of foreign policy and defense speeches, charged Wednesday that the nation’s military has suffered from years of neglect under the Reagan administration.

Dukakis promised an audience in Annapolis, Md., that the nation is ″going to have strong strategic forces, we’re going to have strong conventional forces, and we’re going to clean up the mess in the Pentagon.″

Bush told a raucous rally in San Francisco’s Chinatown that the November election provides the voters with a choice. ″You can choose to keep going with the policies that have launched the longest period of economic growth in history or you can choose to go backward.″

The vice president was campaigning again today in California, a key state with the most electoral votes, 47, before ending the day in Ohio.

Dukakis was flying to Yellowstone to view fire damage to 939,270 acres of the 2.2 million-acre facility and meet with firefighters, local residents and governors of Western states.

Dukakis was not expected to take a position on the question of whether the Reagan administration was wrong to let the fires burn unchecked until mid- July.

″He’s not going out there to criticize but to talk and listen and learn ... He wants to see the fires, listen, and say that if elected president he’ll look at the fire policy,″ Dukakis communications director Leslie Dach said.

Republican Quayle, stumping for votes in Kansas, held his first news conference since Sept. 1. Quayle’s counterpart, Democrat Bentsen, was appearing in Dallas and Memphis, Tenn.

The two contenders got word Wednesday on their only vice presidential debate, which was set for Oct. 5 in Omaha, Neb. Bentsen said debating Quayle would give both an opportunity ″to compare our records of experience and accomplishment in the U.S. Senate.″

The two encountered hostile crowds on the campaign trail as the GOP senator from Indiana was jeered by Dukakis supporters chanting ″Go home Quayle 3/8″ in Albuquerque, N.M., and hecklers rattled the Democratic senator in his home state of Texas.

″As you listen to this babble over here, you can’t help but think of the Dukakis positions,″ Quayle said. ″They have no positions. They’re loud but they don’t have any ideas.

Bentsen, who overcame his initial problems to respond to the jeers in Grand Prairie, Texas, defended his running mate as a candidate who would strengthen the military with practical weapons instead of the ″Buck Rogers″ type of GOP program.

Dukakis, in a speech at Georgetown University, promised his support for development of the Advanced Tactical Fighter aircraft and the Sea Wolf attack submarine, if elected.

″It’s time for an end to Republican smoke and mirrors on national defense,″ Dukakis said.

President Reagan, campaigning for Bush in Missouri, made his first referrence to Dukakis’ recent emphasis on defense and foreign policy, saying, ″We haven’t seen such a radical transformation since Dustin Hoffman played ’Tootsie.‴

Bush, who pitched patriotism to Hispanic workers in Fresno, Calif., courted Asian voters in San Francisco with the words ″only one man is pledged to build a better America through low taxes and high opportunity, and only one man wants laws against crime, tougher laws, and creative programs for our schools.″

″Only one person - only one person can carry America’s peace and prosperity into the 1990s,″ he said. ″I am here to tell you that I am that man.″

Later, however, about 400 demonstrators gathered at Union Square across from the hotel where Bush delivered a fund-raising speech. The protesters chanted ″Where’s George″ and ″Money for AIDS, stop the war, U.S. out of El Salvador.″ Police said at least one person was arrested.

In the latest nationwide poll, an ABC News-Washington Post survey of 1,092 likely voters, Dukakis and Bush were essentially tied, with 48 percent supporting Dukakis for president and 45 percent backing Bush. The poll had a margin of sampling error of three percentage points.

The poll was conducted Sept. 7 through Tuesday, finishing two days after two other polls that had found an eight-point Bush lead. That indicated some movement to Dukakis in those last two days.

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