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Bush Says Dukakis Too Frugal on Defense; Dukakis Cites Iran-Contra

August 31, 1988

Undated (AP) _ George Bush promised today to solve the acid rain problem by reducing emissions by the year 2,000 and declared ″I am an environmentalist, always have been.″ Aides to Democrat Michael Dukakis said they would use Bush’s selection of Dan Quayle as his running mate to question the Republican nominee’s judgment.

Dukakis campaign manager Susan Estrich said the Democratic National Committee and the campaign were preparing separate advertising campaigns to kick off the fall campaign after Labor Day. Among the campaign’s targets for the fall: the choice of the Indiana senator for the GOP ticket.

″Dan Quayle is going to emerge not only as an issue, but as a liability on the Republican side because it goes to judgment and it goes to leadership,″ Estrich said at a briefing on Dukakis campaign strategy.

The Democratic nominee raised questions about Bush’s leadership ability on Tuesday in resurrecting the Iran-Contra scandal, asking, ″How can you possibly sit there and do nothing while we traded arms to a terrorist nation?″

Dukakis campaign chairman Paul Brountas said today that Bush has yet to explain his role in the arms-for-hostages deal, which creates a ″very serious issue of George Bush’s judgment.″ His comments came on ″CBS This Morning.″

Dukakis was to continue his attack on Bush’s role in the scandal at an afternoon news conference with Maine Sen. George Mitchell, who served on the congressional panel investigating the affair and co-authored a newly published book on Iran-Contra.

The vice president, who turned his attention to the environment during a brief campaign stop alongside Lake Erie near Detroit, proposed several clean- up measures as well as a global conference on the issue.

″The time for study alone has passed. ... As president I will ask for a program to cut millions of tons of sulfur dioxide emissions by the year 2,000 and to significantly reduce nitrogen oxide emissions as well,″ he said.

Aides traveling with the vice president described his pledge as a step beyond Reagan administration policy. Environmentalists have criticized the president for dragging his feet on acid rain and other issues during his tenure.

Bush proclaimed, ″I am an environmentalist, always have been, from my earliest days as a congressman ... and I always will be.″

The vice president, for the first time in several days, made no reference to his Democratic rival, but aides said he was considering a trip to Boston Harbor in the Massachusetts governor’s home state to dramatize the pollution problem.

Quayle, meanwhile, traveled to Louisiana with his wife, Marilyn, as part of a five-state southern swing.

The Dukakis campaign today tried to dispel reports of lingering tension between the Dukakis camp and Jesse Jackson over how the former candidate would campaign for the Democratic ticket.

Estrich and Dukakis aide Jack Corrigan denied they had ever suggested to Jackson that he avoid campaigning in such states as Michigan, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas.

Sources who spoke only on condition of anonymity said Tuesday that Jackson resisted attempts to limit the states in which he campaigns, but it was still unresolved where and when Dukakis and Jackson would appear together.

On Tuesday, Bush ridiculed Dukakis’ snowblower - the prized emblem of the Democratic presidential nominee’s budget-consciousness - during one of several appearances in which he continued to criticize Dukakis as weak on defense.

″If he doesn’t want to modernize his snowblower, that’s his concern,″ Bush said at Fort Campbell, Ky., referring to the 25-year-old snowblower that figured prominently in a film about Dukakis at the Democratic National Convention. ″But if he doesn’t modernize our weapons systems, that puts the national security of the United States in considerable risk.″

Dukakis, resurrecting the Iran-Contra arms and money scandal as a campaign issue, said Bush was head of an anti-terrorism task force that had issued a report denouncing any concessions to terrorist nations.

″The president and the vice president and a number of other people, over the opposition of the secretary of state and the secretary of defense, by the way, proceeded to do precisely what that commission said you should never do,″ Dukakis said at a news conference during a tour of Western Massachusetts.

″Making tough decisions is a test of leadership,″ Dukakis said. ″George Bush endorsed the decision to sell arms to Iran and in doing so he failed that test.″

Dukakis was spending most of today at the Massachusetts Statehouse before flying to California for three days of campaigning in Western states. His running mate, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, was taking the day off hunting in Wyoming.

On Tuesday, officials of the Dukakis campaign met with their counterparts in Bush’s campaign to begin negotiations on a debate schedule and format.

Both sides reported being far apart. The Republicans say they want two presidential debates and one confrontation between vice presidential contenders, but nothing before Sept. 22. The Democrats want a more extensive schedule.

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