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CAMPAIGN '88 : Bush on the Defensive

November 12, 1987|Cathleen Decker

Kansas Sen. Bob Dole opened his formal quest for the Republican presidential nomination this week with a volley of shots at Vice President George Bush, the GOP front-runner. But Bush, on a quick New England tour Tuesday, insisted he is standing by the Republicans' "11th Commandment" and refused to return the fire outright.

Still, Bush could not resist a few subtle digs at Dole, who earlier this week described Bush as an "observer" who had not played an active role in the Reagan Administration. Dole said he could offer American voters a "record, not a resume."

"I can't believe he'd make reference to me in that way," Bush said in mock surprise during a brief press conference in Gilford, N. H.. "Nobody was suggesting it was resume when I was fighting for my country, a 20-year-old Navy pilot." Later, in Buzzards Bay, Mass., Bush told hundreds of Republicans gathered for an "Ask George Bush" session that GOP voters "are not going to be looking for the most charisma, for who's been in Congress the longest. . . . I could have been sitting there, but I've done something else with my life."

Dole, in his appearances, has contrasted his long Senate service with Bush's background, which is heavy with appointed positions such as CIA director and envoy to China.

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