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Reagan Pushes Drive for Control of Senate

September 09, 1986|JAMES GERSTENZANG | Times Staff Writer

DENVER — President Reagan, looking back over the work of his first six years in office and ahead to the final two years of his presidency, told Colorado Republicans Monday that, if their party loses control of the Senate, "we're going to wake up one morning and find it all gone with the wind."

In his second political appearance in two days as he kicks off his drive to maintain a Republican majority in the Senate, Reagan told his audience in what is likely to be the theme of his autumn campaigning:

"Whether we keep control of the Senate will mean the difference between two more years of moving forward or two years of stalemate and retrogression. I did not come to Washington to be a six-year President."

Luncheon in Hangar

He spoke in an airplane hangar at Stapleton Airport, at a luncheon that was expected to raise about $800,000 for the Senate campaign of Rep. Ken Kramer.

White House spokesman Larry Speakes said that Kramer is in a "neck-and-neck" race against Rep. Timothy E. Wirth, a Democrat.

Reagan, looking relaxed and ruddy after a three-week vacation, flew to Denver from Los Angeles Monday morning. On Sunday evening, he had addressed a similar fund-raiser--for Rep. Ed Zschau of Los Altos, the California Republican candidate for the Senate. After the speech here, Reagan returned to Washington.

The President, tailoring his remarks for a state that hopes to benefit from federal spending on the "Star Wars" project, reminded his audience that Kramer had successfully pressured the Administration into building a research center "that will be the brain of SDI, right here in Colorado."

SDI stands for Strategic Defense Initiative, the formal name of the multibillion-dollar research project intended to determine the feasibility of building a space-based defense against long-range nuclear missiles.

'Crucial Moment'

Echoing a successful theme of his 1980 presidential campaign, Reagan cast the 1986 election as "a crucial moment of decision for our country."

And, Reagan asked, "Will liberal policies return us to the 'days of malaise?' Or will America continue down the road of progress"--a reference to a speech President Jimmy Carter delivered in 1979 to draw the nation's attention to the problems he saw it facing at that time.

(Carter did not use the term "malaise" in his speech, although the word later came to be used to characterize the talk.)

'Days of Malaise'

"We've come a long way from the days of malaise. But the next couple of years will decide whether all our progress since 1980 will be set in concrete--or only written in the sand," Reagan said, adding:

"Because, if we don't keep control of the U.S. Senate, we're going to wake up one morning and find it all gone with the wind."

In criticizing the Democratic Party, while seeking the support of rank-and-file Democrats for Republican candidates, Reagan cracked:

"The Democratic leadership would chart the most dangerous course for a nation since the Egyptians tried to take a short cut through the Red Sea."

Using virtually the same theme he employed Sunday evening--when he said that a Republican Senate victory in California would guarantee GOP control of the Senate--Reagan told his new audience about 1,000 miles away that "Colorado is the key to our hopes because, if we win here, we can be positive of keeping control of the Senate."

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