Michael Dukakis renewed his attack Thursday on George Bush's plan to reduce capital gains taxes, suggesting it would merely help the rich "hire a second butler." Bush accepted the endorsement of a maritime union and praised U.S. and Soviet teams that worked to free two ice-trapped whales.
Campaigning less than two weeks before Election Day - and four days before Halloween - Dukakis said Thursday in Evergreen, Ill., that Bush's tax plan was like "Halloween come early - a treat for the wealthiest 1 percent and a trick for the rest of us."The plan, Dukakis said, would "give the people at the top the money and hope the crumbs fall off for the rest of us."
Bush has proposed reducing the top tax rate from 33 percent to 15 percent for capital gains, such as profits from sales of stocks, bonds or real estate. The Republican presidential nominee has defended his plan as a potential boon to the U.S. economy, contending people benefiting from the tax reduction would then increase their investing.
"Who's he kidding?" Dukakis asked supporters in Evergreen Park, a suburb of Chicago. "What are they going to do with the extra money? Hire a second butler, a lifeguard for the pool?"
Bush, spaking at a rally in Tacoma, Wash., said Thursday, "This election is all about creating jobs and opportunity," and he said his administration would be committed to keeping the economic expansion going.
Bush received the endorsement of the 50,000-member National Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association at a rally where four protesters were pulled from the hall and more than a hundred demonstrators paraded outside.
Campaigning on the West Coast, where environmental issues are always important, Bush expressed gratitude to American and Soviet teams who worked to free the two whales trapped by ice off the coast of Alaska.
"Every once in a while something comes along that captivates the American spirit, transcends politics, captivates the attention of the world, as a matter of fact, and emphasizes the goodness of the human race," he said.
"The fact that despite all of our problems we can still reach out and help, it really did move me," Bush said.
Dukakis, trailing in national public opinion polls, referred in his remarks to Democratic President Harry Truman's 1948 comeback victory. He was campaigning late in the day in Truman's home state of Missouri, where a statewide poll indicated that Bush's late August lead of nine points had dropped to one.
"Harry Truman was a fighter and so am I," Dukakis said. "My friends, this election is up for grabs."
The vice president, campaigning in Detroit, Sioux Falls, S.D., and Billings, Mont., told voters Wednesday that the Democrats' version of prosperity is higher interest rates, similar to the 21.5 percent rate near the end of the Carter administration.
"We don't need that kind of Democratic prosperity," Bush said. "We need the kind that Ronald Reagan has brought to this country."
The latest national poll by ABC News-Washington Post showed Bush holding an eight-point lead over Dukakis, a somewhat smaller advantage than the double-digit margin the GOP nominee had in two polls earlier this week.