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Stock Market Uncertainties Unsettling to Bush on Campaign Swing

October 24, 1987|JOHN BALZAR | Times Political Writer

RED OAK, Iowa — If a week's worth of wild stock market gyrations left the public uncertain about its pocketbooks, Vice President George Bush could only reel from the uncertainties Wall Street has generated for the fate of his political ambitions.

Bush, on his first presidential campaign swing since the record plunge in stock prices, made rounds through southern Iowa on Friday, bobbing and weaving his way through questions about the economy and taxes.

Sometimes his comments seemed incomplete or slightly ambiguous, but Bush's points followed these lines:

--He is not going to cut and run from President Reagan just because a possible tax increase is negotiated with Congress. But if elected President, Bush said he would not raise taxes himself.

--Perhaps the Reagan Administration could have begun negotiations sooner to reduce the federal deficit--but then again, Congress could have as well.

--Political leaders must lower their voices and stay calm.

Bush said he was encouraged by reports released Friday showing that inflation remains in check and that the gross national product is growing. "The economy is fundamentally sound," he said.

He had no ready answer, however, when he began his campaign day in nearby Omaha and was asked his stand on taxes in light of the Wall Street crash and the President's seeming new willingness to discuss additional taxes:

"I stand in the same position I have stood," he began. "I support the Administration. I'm not going to start changing my views now on that.

"Secondly, I've said I am a candidate and my view when I become President is there won't be any tax increase."

Bush went further as he visited a farm, a small-town Elks Club luncheon and a high school assembly. He reminded his audiences that earlier this month he proposed a tax cut at the highest brackets of investment earnings, insisting this would result in more economic growth and "greater revenue."

Bush also seemed ambivalent when asked about the crisis-stimulated Administration talks with Congress to bring down the deficit.

"I think the concept of getting together and talking is very good. . . . Frankly, I think it's long overdue. . . . You could argue maybe some of our people should have been doing more of that. But it's a two-way street," he said.

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