George Bush is seeking support in Texas with promises to revive the faltering oil industry, oppose gun control and create jobs for minorities through business tax breaks.
Texas - which commands 29 electoral votes, and 270 are needed to win the presidency - has become a key battleground with the selection of Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas as the running mate of Bush's Democratic rival, Michael Dukakis.Bush made no mention while campaigning Thursday of his beleaguered running mate, Sen. Dan Quayle of Indiana, but he predicted that he will win in his adopted home state in November.
Bush seemed eager to get on with his campaign after many days of media focus on the background of Quayle. Asked by reporters if he thought the Quayle matter was behind him, Bush said, "Yes, I do."
However, a new report Friday in the Cleveland Plain Dealer says Quayle's official Senate and campaign biography contains inflated claims about his service in the Indiana attorney general's office. The newspaper reported that Quayle was an entry-level research assistant for most of the time he claims to have been "chief investigator for the Consumer Protection Division of the Indiana Attorney General's Office from 1970-1971."
Bush focused Thursday on his pitch to Texas voters, and after a warm reception from several hundred supporters at a San Antonio rally, he said, "There does seem to be forward motion."
On his four-day swing through Texas, the vice president head Friday to Longview for a rally, and on Saturday will go to Dallas for a speech to a Marine Corps group and a Republican fund-raiser.
"I will win in Texas, but I will work hard to do that," Bush told reporters as he left the rally en route to Houston.
The campaign stop in San Antonio was tailored to appeal to the region's large Hispanic population.
Wearing a loose-fitting shirt called a guayaberra for the occasion, he was welcomed at the downtown San Antonio River front by a banner in Spanish and he was serenaded by a Mariachi version of "Hail to the Chief." In his remarks to the sweltering outdoor rally, Bush promised "to help those minorities who haven't really had a shot at the starting line."
"The best way to do that in employment is to have urban and rural enterprise zones, a break in that tax structure that will encourage business to locate where those populations are," Bush said.
"I support affirmative action so minorities have a better shot at the American dream," he said. "I will be a good president for all Americans."