Vice President George Bush, feeling the heat from a drumbeat of Iran-Contra questions on his first campaign trip of the new year, said today that he sees nothing new in news accounts of what he did or didn't know about the Iran-Contra affair.
Meanwhile, Democrat Gary Hart said he would love to face Bush and let voters decide "whether my personal and human mistake is on the same scale as the mistakes of the last seven years" of the Reagan Administration.
Bush, in a 20-minute session with reporters in Iowa, said of the Iran-Contra affair, "I think the American people are focusing on other issues."
"We'll find out whether the voters care about it," Bush said.
His involvement in the affair "seems to be a preoccupation of some," Bush said.
'Mistakes Were Made'
"I've answered questions over and over again on this subject," he said. "I don't see anything new. I said I stood solidly with the President, that a lot of mistakes were made."
He said, as he has many times in the past concerning the arms deals, "I did not think it was arms for hostages."
Bush faces increasing questions about his knowledge of the arms-for-hostages deal in light of a Washington Post story published today that said Bush was more aware of the details than he has acknowledged. (Story on Page 21.)
Gary Hart, who returned to the race last month after dropping out in May amid news stories of a relationship with Miami model Donna Rice, said today in Manchester, N.H., that his personal life "is not what is on the mind of the people of this country."