With the Democrats making final arrangements for their convention that will nominate Michael Dukakis for president, Jesse Jackson is refusing to yield on platform issues or his claim to be the most qualified Democratic vice presidential prospect.
"The fact of the matter is, I would be an asset," Jackson said this week. "I'm convinced that my presence would unleash new hope in this country, regain more people."The others under consideration are unknown quantities beyond their districts and beyond their home states," Jackson said in Boston.
Ron Brown, the Washington lawyer who has emerged as Jackson's top campaign aide, met with Democratic Party chairman Paul G. Kirk Jr. and Dukakis campaign manager Susan Estrich. The session was at Dukakis campaign headquarters in Boston.
Brown described it as "a good meeting, a good session." But when asked if any agreement had been reached on platform issues on which Jackson and Dukakis differ, Brown said, "The decision is that we have no present intention of dropping any of them."
The issues on which they disagree are Jackson's call for a tax increase, for cuts in defense spending and for endorsement of an independent Palestinian state.
Brown said further meetings would be held "to get the convention put together."
The two campaigns have agreed on much of the convention schedule, including a plan for Jackson to address the meeting on the second night, Tuesday, July 19.
The opening night program will include a speech by former President Jimmy Carter as well as the keynote address by Texas Treasurer Ann Richards.
The third night of the convention will include the traditional roll call ballot for the presidential nomination, with Dukakis and Jackson expected to be the only names put forth. Dukakis has far more than the delegate majority he needs to prevail.
The program for the closing night will include nomination of the vice president and then the acceptance speeches by Dukakis and his running mate.
The three commercial television networks are expected to provide prime time coverage for two hours on each of the four nights.
In addition to Jackson, officials said it was possible that former Democratic presidential contenders Sens. Albert Gore Jr. of Tennessee and Paul Simon of Illinois; Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri and former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt would speak Tuesday night.