Jesse Jackson used a Democratic Party convention in New Jersey to express frustration at party leaders for not supporting his presidential bid while rival Democrat Michael Dukakis criticized his likely Republican opponent for stands on labor and foreign policy.
Speaking Sunday to an enthusiastic crowd at the New Jersey state Democratic Party Convention, Jackson complained about not receiving endorsements from any state party chairmen, U.S. senators or governors despite his bringing new voters into the party."I have not inherited any voters," the civil rights leader said. "I have earned every vote I've gotten."
Earlier Sunday at a college address in Hampton, Va., Jackson said, "The party's stacked against me. . . . I know what the odds are, but yet I will never surrender to the odds."
Dukakis, the Democratic presidential front-runner, used the New Jersey convention to criticize Vice President George Bush, whose sole remaining rival for the GOP nomination, Pat Robertson, was expected to formally drop out of the race Monday.
In New Jersey, Jackson spoke about the need to improve education, housing and urban development. Dukakis, whom polls show with a big lead before the Garden State's June 7 primary, also spoke about education.
"Some people want `Star Wars,' but I want star schools and so do you," Dukakis said. "Some people want to build more missiles, but I want to build young minds."
A poll published Sunday in The (Hackensack, N.J.) Record showed the Massachusetts governor leading Jackson among New Jersey Democrats 59 percent to 19 percent. The poll of 1,020 voters taken April 27 through May 5, with a margin of error of 3 percent, found a much closer general election between Dukakis and Bush, the expected GOP nominee.
Dukakis linked Bush to President Reagan's pledge to veto a recently passed trade bill because of provisions requiring a 60-day notice before major layoffs or plant closings. And he attacked a reported administration plan to dismiss drug trafficking charges against Panamanian Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega to get the military leader out of power.
"This (trade veto) is from an administration that wants to give Noriega 120 days' notice to reach a plea bargain," Dukakis said.
"Some people want to overthrow governments in Central America," Dukakis said. "I want to build more jobs in middle America."
New Jersey, California and New Mexico hold the final primaries of the 1988 season June 7. Victories on that day could help Dukakis gain the 2,081 delegates needed to win the party's nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta.
The latest UPI count put 1,532.7 delegates in Dukakis' column - about 75 percent of the number needed for nomination - and 895.2 in Jackson's. Some delegates cast fractional votes.
Bush, who has acquired enough delegates to win his party's nomination, ended a three-day campaign visit to Oregon by drifting Sunday seven miles on the Rogue River in southern Oregon without catching a salmon.