George Bush said Wednesday the White House and Congress should extend "the hand of partnership" on foreign policy as he pointed a finger at Michael Dukakis' lack of experience in world affairs. The Democratic nominee, wooing rural voters, said the Republicans prefer corporate operators to family farmers.
Bush insisted he will "fight like we're 10 points back" although public opinion surveys indicate a lead of that margin - not a deficit. The Dukakis campaign requested 30 minutes of paid time on the television networks for an election-eve plea for support.In Dearborn, Mich., the Republican nominee said the president and Congress should "extend to each other the hand of partnership, not the finger of blame." He couldn't resist a shot at his rival, saying Dukakis' shortage of foreign policy experience has given him "a rather unrealistic view of American's role and the way in which we lead."
Dukakis scorned Reagan-Bush administration agricultural policies en route to a farm rally in Illinois. "I don't remember any time in this campaign he's expressed any concern about family farmers. They (the Republicans) like corporate operators," he said.
Dukakis' ticket-mate, Lloyd Bentsen, accused the Republicans Wednesday of lowering the presidential race "to the level of a mud-wrestling" contest.
"They have viciously slandered the patriotism and record of Michael Dukakis and then turned around and whistled sweetness and light," he said in Palo Alto, Calif.
President Reagan continued to depict the Democrats as out of touch. "Where they want to take America, America doesn't want to go," Reagan said Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio. Using the word "liberal" 15 times in a speech planned for 15 minutes, the president also lashed out at Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, D-Ohio, as a big spender.
The map of Wednesday's campaigning looked like a strategy paper on key battleground states. Michigan, Illinois, California and Ohio hold 114 electoral votes among them, a hefty chunk of the 270 needed for election.
A Harris poll released Wednesday put the Bush-Dukakis gap at 9 percentage points, with Bush ahead by 53 percent to 44 percent. The survey, done Friday through Monday among 1,356 likely voters, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 points. Just a week ago, a Harris poll indicated a race too close to call.
On Tuesday, Dukakis promised to erase the nation's $150 billion trade deficit in four years. He also portrayed the election as a choice between a candidate for the wealthy and a nominee who is committed to working-class Americans.
"George Bush cares about the people on Easy Street. I care about the people on Main Street. He's on their side. I'm on your side," he said in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Dukakis also accused the Republican administration of failing to halt the growing trade deficit and doing nothing to solve the problems that led to the 1987 stock market crash, which occurred one year ago.