Vice President George Bush, reaching out to the ethnic vote in elector-rich California, announced a new Latino coalition today and said booming sales of the American flag illustrate a "new pride in America."
Announcing the formation of a new advisory panel, "Hispanics for Bush," the Republican presidential nominee reiterated the achievements of the two-term Reagan Administration and promised that if he is elected, prosperity will continue.
Addressing a key constituency in a state critical for a GOP victory in the fall, Bush said Latino Americans particularly have shared in "America's new period of economic growth."
"Two million, 300 thousand more Hispanic Americans are at work today than when this recovery began and unemployment among Hispanics is falling almost twice as fast now as it was under the other party," he told a breakfast gathering at a Latino-owned restaurant in the conservative stronghold of Orange County.
Bush said the panel will be headed by Katherine Ortega, the former U.S. treasurer, and will include Florida Gov. Bob Martinez, Rep. Manuel Lujan Jr. (R-N.M.) and Bush's own Latino daughter-in-law, Columba Garnica Bush.
The vice president, who caused a minor flap during the Republican National Convention when he introduced three of his grandchildren to President Reagan as the "little brown ones," planned to travel to Fresno to tour a raisin plant before heading to San Francisco for another top-dollar fund-raising event.
Since last week, six members of a Bush committee created to lure ethnic support resigned after reports that they were involved in anti-Semitic or fascistic activities.
Repeating most of his stump speeches by promising more jobs, better education, better child care and a strong defense, Bush alluded to another bone of contention with Democratic presidential nominee Michael S. Dukakis: the controversy over mandatory recitation in schools of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Bush has challenged Dukakis' patriotism because the Massachusetts governor vetoed a bill as unconstitutional that would have required teachers to lead children in a recitation of the pledge.
Citing figures from a small company in New Jersey that makes and sells American flags, Bush said its boost in sales demonstrated the "new pride in America."
"Back under Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, times were tough. Flags weren't selling that well," he said. "Well, since we began restoring pride in the United States of America, business has been booming. Flag sales have taken off and it seems this little company just can't seem to make them fast enough. They even had to add a new plant."