What do you get when you put a bunch of Utah Democratic delegates together to listen to a George Bush speech? A Bush bash.
"I could have written this. I know exactly what he's going to say.""How can he say that with a straight face?"
"Is it over yet?"
"Isn't it marvelous what an expert he is on the Democrats?"
"Oooh. Score one point for George Bush."
"Where was George? Where was George? Where. . . ."
"Nothing profound yet."
"Pretty good speech, though. For him."
"That's it. I'm voting for him. His charisma convinced me."
"Oh nooooo. Don't do it, George. Not the pledge of allegiance. Ohhhhh."
Despite the jabs, some Utah Democrats think Bush gave a very good speech. Others, however, were not impressed.
"For George Bush, it was one of his better speeches," said Nick Floros, co-chairman of the Dukakis campaign in Utah. "It surprised me he was as forceful as he was."
But Floros called the content of the speech a "cosmetic cover-up" and said Bush deliberately avoided details and certain subjects such as what the Reagan-Bush administration has done with the war on drugs. He also said Bush's stands on day care and freedom of choice are offensive to women.
"Apparently he was trying to get rid of his wimp image," said Elizabeth Willey, state vice-chairman of the Democratic committee. "He appeared more forceful."
Willey said, however, that Bush "completely ignored the deficit," which has greatly increased during the Reagan years. She also said he was attempting to make traditional Democratic issues Republican issues, such as the poor and the homeless.
"But these are issues we're all concerned about," she said.
Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis said he was not impressed with the speech at all.
"I didn't hear anything new as far as defining which direction he's heading the country." He said during the speech Bush was attempting to reach out to various interest groups that are slow to support him such as unions, teachers and women.
"I didn't think it was a great speech. It just wasn't magic," the mayor said, adding that the Bush speech should have been directed more at the issues, as was Michael Dukakis's acceptance speech.
"George Bush may have been as good as he can be tonight but he's not getting any better," said former Gov. Scott Matheson. "Michael Dukakis gets better every day."
Matheson said Bush said "nothing startling, nothing different and nothing new." He said he looks forward to the debates, where the real test will come.
"I thought he did a fairly good job," said delegate Karen Mayne. "George Bush said the things I thought he had to say."
Bruce Baird, another delegate, disagreed. "It was a canned, cliche-ridden speech. You could predict what he was going to say before he was going to say it. But for Bush, it was very good," he said.
"He tried to do a good job of disguising who he was because he can't win as a right-wing conservative," Baird said.
"He probably did as good of a job as he is capable of," said Louise Henson, a Democratic national committeewoman for Utah. "He simply lacks emotion to me."
One thing Utah Democrats do agree on, however, is that Dukakis will continue to gain support and win the election, despite the recent politicking of the Republican convention.