George Bush declared Monday "there isn't any racism" in his ads, and he denied Democratic charges of Republican lying. Michael Dukakis renewed the allegation of lying, saying the Republicans can't win if they discuss the issues truthfully.
With two weeks to go in the presidential election, Republican Bush was campaigning in Connecticut and other Northeastern states while Dukakis was seeking support in vote-rich California.Reacting to weekend talk of racism, Bush told reporters, "It's absolutely ridiculous and everybody sees this as some desperation kind of move, basing it on one ad."
Bush was referring to Democratic complaints that the Republicans have been appealing to racial fears in Bush's speeches and ads stressing the case of Willie Horton Jr., a black convicted murderer who raped a white woman after escaping from a Massachusetts prison furlough.
"I mean people see this for what it is - a campaign tactic. I stand 100 percent behind those ads. I think the American people are smart," Bush said.
He added that the Democrats are running an ad about a man from a Bush-supported Houston halfway house who murdered a minister's wife. Bush asked, "What about their ad about the halfway house? Is that racism against Hispanics?"
"He is upset, not because it's false but because he is weak on crime and defense. And that's the inescapable truth," Bush said at a campaign breakfast in Waterbury, Conn.
Dukakis, said at a rally in Los Angeles, "You know, Mark Twain once said that a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes. Mr. Bush must have read Mark Twain, because he's running a campaign based on distortions and distractions - and outright lies.
"Why? Because he can't win an election where the real issues are discussed; the real challenges are faced; and the real differences are made known."
Dukakis renewed his criticism of Bush's proposal for a capital gains tax credit, which Dukakis said would give Bush himself an annual tax break of $22,000.
"George Bush wants to give people like George Bush a tax break that's more than the average California worker makes in a year," Dukakis said.
Bush, on the other hand, said in a speech prepared for delivery to a business group in Waterbury, "My opponent now wants to turn back to clog up the circulatory system of America's economy with exactly the kind of big government schemes the Europeans are discarding."
Dukakis was spending the entire day in California, including stops in Los Angeles and San Francisco, in pursuit of that crucial state's 47 electoral votes.
Republican vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle was going to be accompanied by his mother, Corrine Quayle, during his first stop in Missouri.