Democratic front-runner Michael Dukakis described George Bush as a "blank slate" and urged his likely Republican opponent to speak out on breaches of law and ethics in the Reagan administration. Democrat Jesse Jackson, in turn, made fun of Dukakis' cautious style, saying: "The kitchen is clean and cool ain't nothin' cooking."
The two Democratic rivals and Bush, the guaranteed Republican nominee, were campaigning Monday in Ohio on the eve of the state's primary. The District of Columbia and Indiana have primaries the same day, but Ohio offers the biggest delegate prize.A poll published Sunday in the Akron Beacon Journal suggested Dukakis had the support of 62 percent of registered Democrats, while Jackson had 22 percent and 16 percent were undecided or supported other candidates.
Another survey, for the Columbus Dispatch, had similar results 64 percent for Dukakis to Jackson's 24 percent, with 14 percent for others. Dukakis also picked up the support of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio's largest newspaper.
The current Associated Press delegate count puts Dukakis at 1,276 and Jackson at 852. But Jackson professed optimism.
"Our campaign of hope continues," Jackson told backers. "Our support base gets broader and bigger every day."
Jackson was airing ads in Ohio portraying himself as a candidate of change, in contrast to Bush and Dukakis. He implied that Dukakis' cautious style amounted to a lack of leadership.
"The kitchen is clean and cool," he said. "Ain't nothin' cooking."
Dukakis spent Sunday sounding law-and-order themes, visiting a police station in Akron and stopping at Toledo's county jail. And he hammered away at the Reagan administration, saying that under it, "rule of law and respect for the Constitution have not been the order of the day."
In calling for tougher anti-drug efforts, Dukakis cited the administration's history of dealings with Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega.
"How can we tell our kids to say no to drugs when we have an administration that can't say no to drugs and drug dealers?" he said.
The Massachusetts governor also suggested the administration could not effectively fight drugs with its top law enforcement official Attorney General Edwin Meese III embroiled in his own legal problems.