Michael Dukakis hit hard Wednesday at conduct in the Reagan administration, saying George Bush's former colleagues include dozens "who broke the law and violated the public trust." Bush, meanwhile, defended his tax-deferred savings plan that stirred little support when he unveiled it a day earlier.
Dukakis, in Greensburg, Pa., said that as president he would sign an order barring former top members of his administration from lobbying the government as long as he was in office."High government office is a public trust, not a training camp for foreign lobbyists or a vehicle for private gain," he said. "George Bush may be satisfied with this administration's `Hall of Shame.' He may be satisfied with letting Japan make the cars while his former colleagues make the license plates. I say America can do better than that."
Bush, meanwhile, setting out on a bus tour through Illinois, defended his proposal for a tax-deferred savings plan while saying a college loan program advanced by Dukakis would "put the IRS on your tail for the rest of your life."
Although Dukakis has scorned Bush's new plan, saying it would save Americans no more than $20 a year, Bush said his day-old proposal would "give taxpayers a little nest egg."
He slashed at Dukakis' plan for college loans that would be paid back according to an individual's future earnings through tax withdrawals.
"He wants to spend more and I want to put more money in the hands of individuals, not in the hands of government," Bush said.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen hit at Bush and running mate Dan Quayle Wednesday in Harry Truman's hometown of Independence, Mo.
Bentsen ridiculed Bush's contention that Dukakis is out of the political mainstream, saying it is Bush's running mate, Quayle, who is an arch-conservative with views in line with Sens. Jesse Helms and Gordon Humphrey.
As for the prospect of a Quayle presidency if the Republicans win in November, he said, "I'll tell you, if they were elected, I'd pray for the good health of George Bush every night."
The vice president on Tuesday, introduced his "individual savings account" plan as an opportunity for low- and middle-income savers to put away $1,000 a year and defer paying taxes on the interest. Bush said the system would help Americans be "better able to afford a home, pay for college, or start a business."
But Dukakis, calculating that the plan would provide a mere $20 a year to the taxpayer, questioned whether his GOP opponent was offering a serious solution to the economic crunch facing the middle class.
"Twenty bucks a year - that's Mr. Bush's solution for average Americans," Dukakis told an audience in Chicago's Melrose Park suburb. "He says it will make them, and here I'm quoting, `better able to afford a home, pay for college, start a business.' Twenty bucks a year, who's he kidding?"