WASHINGTON — An aide to Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) charged Wednesday that Vice President George Bush has so politicized his breakfast today with Mikhail S. Gorbachev that she was "surprised Bush didn't invite Gorbachev to Des Moines for a fund-raiser."
"Sour grapes," responded Peter Teeley, a spokesman for Bush.
"It's so blatantly political it defies description," said Dole campaign spokeswoman Katie Boyle, when told that Bush was bringing the governor of New Hampshire and two Iowans to a breakfast meeting this morning with Gorbachev.
Iowa holds the first presidential caucuses on Feb. 8, and New Hampshire stages the first primary eight days later. Those are the two most-watched events of the nomination campaign and have an impact on other states that far outweighs the number of delegates at stake in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Invitees to Breakfast
Invited by Bush to the embassy breakfast were Gov. John H. Sununu of New Hampshire, Bush's campaign chairman in the state as well as chairman of the National Governors Assn.; former Iowa congressman Cooper Evans and Robert Brooks, principal of Valley High School in West Des Moines. Also on the Bush list were Mayor Henry Cisneros of San Antonio, a Democrat, and Dr. Mary Good, president of the American Chemical Society.
In addition to the sniping over the Gorbachev breakfast, Bush and Dole also were trying to catch the glow emanating from the meetings between President Reagan and Gorbachev and the signing of a treaty eliminating ground-launched, medium-range nuclear missiles.
Dole had a brief private meeting with Gorbachev at the Soviet Embassy on Wednesday immediately after a session the Soviet leader held with nine Democratic and Republican congressional leaders.
"I told Mr. Gorbachev I felt the treaty would be ratified and that the Senate would play a constructive role," Dole later told reporters.
He added that if the summit produces nothing more than the treaty, it would be "a disappointment."
Wished Good Luck
The Kansas senator, regarded as Bush's principal challenger for the Republican presidential nomination, said that as he was leaving his meeting with Gorbachev, "he wished me good luck and I told him, 'Thank you. I'm winning.' "
While Dole's unscheduled 10-minute meeting with the Soviet leader enabled him to claim he got the same treatment as Bush, the vice president was getting a more prominent role on the final day of the summit.
In addition to his meeting at the Soviet Embassy this morning, Bush is scheduled to accompany the Soviet leader to Andrews Air Force Base in nearby Maryland this evening and preside over the farewell ceremony for Gorbachev.