BLOOMFIELD, N.J. — Republican George Bush, draping himself in the symbolic setting of a flag factory, quit attacking Democratic rival Michael S. Dukakis long enough today to offer voters a star-spangled promise to "build a better America."
Bush told a rally outside the Annin flag company that "my mission is simple. To build a better America. That simple and that big."
While he threw a few barbs at Dukakis on economic issues that divide them, the vice president spoke mostly in terms of building an America "that remains the last, best hope of man on earth."
'I want to build an America that is proud, yes, but more than that, much more than that, I want to build an America that inspires," Bush said.
The GOP nominee toured the plant where workers bent over sewing machines stitching red and white stripes, and spoke at a rally flanked by huge flags that have become a standard prop at campaign appearances.
"Today the flags you make still inspire Americans, and those who love our values the world over," Bush told the Annin employees.
Cites Tears of Olympians
"You can see that inspiration on display this week in the tears that flow down the cheeks of our Olympic champions," he said.
Bush said the flag company's prosperity and the nation's economic growth lead to the question, "Is that all there is?" He added, "And the answer of course is no."
"America is that 'shining city on a hill' today because we are a nation of dreamers. A compassionate nation and an ambitious nation, to be sure, but also a kind and gentle nation," he said.
Although Bush has made a big issue of Dukakis' veto of a Massachusetts bill that would have required teachers to lead students in the Pledge of Allegiance, he did not mention that today.
Previously Bush had cited the Annin Co. as proof of a growing patriotism in America. He said that its flag sales were depressed during the Jimmy Carter years but that business was booming during the Reagan presidency.