George Bush declared Tuesday that in his debate with Michael Dukakis "we smoked him out" and showed the Democrat too liberal for American voters. Dukakis headed for the Midwest as his campaign staff, pleased with his debate performance, clipped excerpts for TV ads.
Bush and Dukakis will debate again Oct. 14 or 15, depending on the World Series schedule. Vice presidential candidates Dan Quayle and Lloyd Bentsen will debate Oct. 5 in Omaha, Neb.Bush, at the University of Miami in Oxford, Ohio, took aim Tuesday at what he said was Dukakis' lack of foreign policy experience, telling several thousand students at a Republican rally, "America doesn't need a president who has to enroll in foreign policy 101 to understand the kind of world we live in."
The crowd roared when Bush asked how he'd done in the debate. About three-dozen protesters with pro-Dukakis signs were kept several hundred feet from the speaking platform.
Bush said Dukakis doesn't like it when he uses "the big `L' word," referring to "liberal," but he said, "I'm going to keep on using it."
Dukakis was campaigning Tuesday in Illinois, a crucial Midwest battleground where 24 Electoral College votes are at stake.
With their general election showdown six weeks away, the two presidential candidates used post-debate, campaign appearances on Monday to clarify statements from their first face-to-face encounter.
At a rally Monday in Jersey City, N.J., Dukakis sought to distance himself from the American Civil Liberties Union, charging that Bush was wrong when he "suggested that I agree with every position ever taken" by the ACLU.
The GOP nominee, however, refused to let the issue rest.
"My values are your values, and they are not the values of the ACLU," Bush told a rally and barbecue in Hampton, Ga., near Atlanta.
Aides to the vice president said Bush would hammer away at the ACLU issue in the next few days as he attempts to portray the Democratic nominee as a liberal out of the American mainstream.
Quayle was making his first foray into Texas, with stops in Houston and El Paso. Quayle's counterpart, Bentsen, was traveling to Detroit, Mich., and Kansas City, Mo.
On the day after the debate, four nationwide surveys found little change in voter preference and underlying opinions of the two candidates. The polls also showed that most Americans believe Dukakis vs. Bush ended in a tie.
A Los Angeles Times survey, however, found that Dukakis made "major gains in stature" by appearing more presidential and standing up under the pressure.
The Dukakis campaign produced two campaign ads showing excerpts from the debate, including the Democratic nominee's summation that, "The best America is not behind us. The best America is yet to come."
Bush, meanwhile, rated the debate showdown a draw.
"I kind of thought it was even," said the GOP nominee hours after many of his senior aides termed his performance a success.
On Monday, Dukakis and his staff tackled the issue of the Massachusetts governor's membership in the ACLU - a clear indication of the Democrat's liberal ways, according to Bush.
During Sunday's debate, the vice president referred to Dukakis as a "card-carrying member" of the ACLU and attacked some of the organization's positions.
"I don't want my 10-year-old granddaughter to go into an X-rated movie," Bush said. "I don't think they're right to try to take the tax exemption away from the Catholic Church. I don't want to see the kiddie pornography laws repealed. I don't want to see `Under God' come out from our currency. Now, these are all positions of the ACLU and I don't agree with them."
Dukakis said Bush's efforts to link him to every ACLU stand is "nonsense."
"Two months ago I signed one of the toughest child pornography laws in the United States of America," Dukakis said. "I've always supported tax exemptions for religious institutions, and I certainly do not support Oliver North, whom the ACLU is defending."