Michael Dukakis said Saturday that George Bush is taking the Republican Party "further and further away from the mainstream" and questioned the Republican vice president's vow to create 30 million jobs if elected president.
The Democratic presidential candidate linked up with his vice presidential running mate, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, for a visit with Lady Bird Johnson at the LBJ Ranch.After having breakfast with Mrs. Johnson, Dukakis paid tribute to her and saluted her late husband for "the passion and commitment he had to people, especially to people who needed a helping hand and a leg up on the road to opportunity."
Then they all visited Lyndon B. Johnson's grave, moving quietly beneath giant oak trees.
Dukakis never referred to President John F. Kennedy by name but recalled that "another son of Massachusetts" won the presidency in 1960 with Johnson as his running mate. It was an obvious effort to keep alive the Boston-Austin connection that Democrats hope will help them at the polls.
At a news conference at the 250-acre ranch, Dukakis said Bush's choice of conservative Sen. Dan Quayle of Indiana as his running mate signaled an effort to bring GOP policies further to the right.
"My sense is that the Republican Party is moving away from the mainstream while Senator Bentsen and I are campaigning on Main Street," Dukakis said.
The Democratic ticket mates also appeared together at a rally in nearby Johnson City before splitting up. Dukakis headed to a county fair in Lebanon, Tenn., on his way home to Boston while Bentsen traveled to a fund-raising dinner in Florida.
Bentsen will fly to Boston on Monday to attend a national security briefing at Dukakis' home, to be conducted by CIA Director William Webster.
Both were on the road during the Republican National Convention. On Saturday they continued to pound away at the two issues they have accused Bush of ducking: the federal trade and budget deficits.
And Dukakis was skeptical of Bush's declaration that he could create 30 million new jobs if elected: "Harold Wilson once said never put a date and a number in the same sentence. I think it's good advice. I don't see any evidence that this Republican ticket even understands how to create jobs, especially in those parts of the country that are hurting and hurting badly."
Dukakis predicted the Democratic ticket would carry Texas, considered a Bush stronghold until Dukakis tapped Bentsen to run with him.
George Bush leads Michael Dukakis by 51 percent to 42 percent, and although Bush has been dogged by a gender gap the Newsweek telephone poll of 1,000 registered voters taken Aug. 18-19 revealed women were split evenly between the two candidates.