Michael S. Dukakis hit hard today at conduct in the Reagan Administration, saying George Bush's former colleagues include dozens "who broke the law and violated the public trust." Bush defended his tax-deferred savings plan that stirred criticism and little support when he unveiled it a day earlier.
Dukakis, in Greensburg, Pa., said that as President he would sign an executive order barring former top members of his administration from lobbying the government as long as he was in office.
"High government office is a public trust, not a training camp for foreign lobbyists or a vehicle for private gain," he said at a rally.
"George Bush may be satisfied with this Administration's 'Hall of Shame'--dozens of top Administration officials who broke the law and violated the public trust. He may be satisfied with letting Japan make the cars while his former colleagues make the license plates. I say America can do better than that," Dukakis said.
The Massachusetts governor said he would close a "Deaver loophole" under which he said the Reagan Administration divided up the executive office of the President to allow someone leaving the White House staff to immediately lobby other offices within the executive office.
Former White House aide Michael K. Deaver was found guilty of lying when he said he couldn't remember contacting former Administration officials on behalf of corporations paying him big fees.
'The IRS on Your Tail'
Bush, meanwhile, setting out on a bus tour through Illinois, defended his proposal for a tax-deferred savings plan while saying a college loan program advanced by Dukakis would "put the IRS on your tail for the rest of your life."
Although Dukakis has scorned Bush's new plan for tax-deferred savings, saying it would save Americans no more than $20 a year, Bush said his day-old proposal would "give taxpayers a little nest egg."
He slashed at Dukakis' plan for college loans that would be paid back according to an individual's future earnings through tax withdrawals.
"He wants to spend more, and I want to put more money in the hands of individuals, not in the hands of government," Bush said.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen also hit hard at Bush and running mate Dan Quayle today in Harry S. Truman's hometown of Independence, Mo.
'Ready to Lead America'
Bentsen ridiculed Bush's contention that Dukakis is out of the political mainstream, saying it is Bush's running mate, Quayle, who is an archconservative with views in line with Sens. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and Gordon J. Humphrey (R-N.H.).
As for the prospect of a Quayle presidency if the Republicans win in November, he said, "I'll tell you, if they were elected, I'd pray for the good health of George Bush every night."
Bentsen said that he, by contrast, would be "ready to lead America" if tragedy befell the President.