Republican George Bush said Monday that Democrat Michael Dukakis has "raised all sorts of taxes" in Massachusetts and will do the same nationally if elected. Dukakis retorted that the Reagan administration has left a "sea of Republican red ink that not even Moses could part."
Bush and his running mate, Dan Quayle, both launched economic-based attacks on Dukakis to kick off a week that will see relatively little campaigning as the presidential candidates prepare for their first debate next Sunday.In Philadelphia, Bush charged Dukakis with championing an "anti-business scheme" that has caused higher taxes and soaring business bankruptcies in Massachusetts.
Bush told a local Chamber of Commerce that the Democratic governor this year has "raised all sorts of taxes: the income tax, the sales tax and one that might be of special interest to this audience" - an additional tax on state business.
Quayle, at a rally in Knoxville, Tenn., said Dukakis had imposed "an economic manacle" on the state's economy - a reference to Dukakis' claim of an economic miracle in Massachusetts.
"He raised virtually every tax in Massachusetts," said Quayle. "Now I know what he means when he talks about good jobs at good wages. If he is elected president, he is going to take your good jobs at your good wages."
In remarks prepared for a Little Rock, Ark., appearance, Dukakis said he was tired of Bush using selective statistics to misconstrue the state of the economy - both in Massachusetts and nationally.
"Mark Twain once said that there were three kinds of falsehoods: lies, damn lies, and statistics," Dukakis said. "Mr. Bush likes statistics; the statistics that show that more Americans are working, but do not tell you the quality of their jobs. Statistics that tell us that some people and some states are doing very, very well; but don't tell us about the daily struggle of many Americans to pay their bills."
He also said not all is well with the federal economy as long as the budget deficit runs into the billions of dollars.
Both candidates kept their schedules light this week with plenty of time set aside to prepare for their first debate. Bush press secretary Sheila Tate said the vice president would spar with former deputy Treasury Secretary Richard Darman playing the role of Dukakis.
Both candidates commented on the weekend's military coup in Haiti, with Bush saying "It's too early to say what happened." But he added, "We want democracy for Haiti, for the whole of the Caribbean and for the whole of Central America."
Dukakis issued a statement calling for the United States to recall its ambassador from Haiti for consultations while refusing to recognize the country's military government.