When Michael Dukakis formally accepted the Democratic nomination Thursday night, the "party of the people" nominated the sort of common man the party has always claimed to represent.
Dukakis is not a millionaire. He still lives in a duplex. He drives a 5-year-old Dodge Aries. He buys suits from the bargain basement of a Boston department store.But Dukakis isn't exactly average, either. He is a Harvard-educated lawyer, speaks six languages, is a son of a Greek-immigrant doctor and overcame one defeat for re-election as Massachusetts governor to later earn two more terms. Democrats say that shows his intelligence, experience and integrity.
Those qualities helped Dukakis breeze - as expected - to a first-ballot victory Wednesday night over Jesse Jackson, whose hoped-for miracle never materialized.
Dukakis won, 2,867.25 to 1,218.50. The Utah delegation voted 25 to 3 for Dukakis.
California, which passed on the first round, put Dukakis over the top with its 235 Dukakis votes, leading the hall to erupt into a 15-minute celebration.
While some state delegation spokesmen used flowery language in announcing their votes, Utah's former Gov. Scott M. Matheson announced Utah's 28 votes simply saying: "Utah casts three votes for Jesse Jackson and 25 votes for Gov. Michael Dukakis."
Earlier in the evening, in nominating Dukakis, Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, who has known Dukakis for some time, said: "Mike's old-fashioned, all right. He's the kind of man who plays it straight, keeps his word and pays his bills. In my state, we say he's the kind of man you can `tie to.' "
Clinton said he's worked closely with Dukakis, "and he can be tough as nails."
"Old Mike, he knows we may want government off our back, but he knows we sure need it by our side. He has spent his whole public life closing the gap between what is and what might have been. He'll stand and deliver for us. He'll build a bridge for tomorrow."
As Jackson delegates chanted off and on: "Keep Hope Alive," those nominating him predicted one day, one way, he will be president - that he is the future of America's children.
The demonstrations for both men's nominations were low-key compared to other party conventions. The Omni was so crowded, with the large delegations from California, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania sitting on bleacher seats with narrow aisles, the delegates didn't march around the floor at all. For five minutes or so the delegates of each candidate yelled and shook signs in their seats.
Utah delegates - like their counterparts nationwide - have varying reasons for supporting Dukakis.
Ruby Hammel, a delegate from Salt Lake County and a schoolteacher, said, "He lives in a duplex. He drives an older car. He mows his own lawn. That appeals to me," she said.
"Also, my son in Boston said he feels Dukakis is responsible for the good economy there. Dukakis is a good man, and he is intelligent."
Matheson, who is well-acquainted with Dukakis because of their work together on the National Governor's Association, said simply, "I like Dukakis because he is a public figure with total integrity. He plays it straight. That is the type of person I like to do business with."
Utah delegation leader Pat Shea, who ran the Dukakis campaign in Utah, said, the reason he supports him is his "intelligence and integrity."