Vice President George Bush said Friday he wants to announce his running mate at the Republican National Convention and vowed to win the key state of Texas in his quest for the presidency.
Bush told reporters he was not prepared to name his vice presidential running mate next week, as some political advisers have advised in an effort to recapture the headlines and momentum from the Democratic nominee, Michael Dukakis."What I'd like to do is keep it a secret and announce it at the convention," Bush said. The Republican convention, in New Orleans, begins Aug. 15.
Bush conceded that some polls show him trailing Dukakis but said he was not worried.
"I never thought it would be a cakewalk. I see these surveys where I'm behind. I like that," Bush said. "I can fight back. I will take Texas."
Bush said Texans disagree with some positions taken by Dukakis.
"I don't think Texans want federal gun control," Bush said during a news conference at an Italian festival.
On an eight-state, five-day campaign swing, Bush visited the Italian festival and then attended a fund-raiser for Republican candidates that was closed to reporters.
Bush said Dukakis gave "a very good speech" in Atlanta Thursday night and said he did not take the Democratic nominee's criticism personally.
Dukakis criticized Bush during his convention speech, saying the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, would actively participate in the government, unlike Bush.
"I don't take it as personal criticism," Bush said of Dukakis' comment that the White House would operate more as a team if he is elected. "I have a relationship with the president. I'm welcome to tell him anything I think."
Bush said he hoped to avoid personal attacks on Dukakis during the campaign but said Republican "surrogates" would help "set the record straight."
The vice president said Republican "surrogates" would explain issues to the voters, allowing him to avoid a name-calling campaign.
"I have not been good in this kind of slashing attack," Bush said. "We'll have a lot of surrogates out there who will help to get the record straight. We should let people know what the differences are. There's a whole array of them."
Bush said he and Reagan have a better relationship with less differences than Dukakis and Bentsen.
"The differences are enormous. All I know is President Reagan and I work as a team," Bush said.