He Chides Opponent in Northern California Tour : Dukakis Too Cautious, Jackson Charges
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, campaigning in Northern California on Sunday, stepped up his criticism of Democratic opponent Michael S. Dukakis, calling the Massachusetts governor’s proposals cautious and inadequate.
Jackson told 300 cannery workers in Salinas that under President Reagan billions of dollars in government revenues were “taken from the poor, given to the rich, paid for by the middle class.”
He accused Dukakis of proposing to increase spending for re-industrialization and education by hundreds of millions of dollars but without spelling out specifics of how it would be done.
“No commitment, no budget, no plan,” Jackson said. “Very conservative, very cautious, very inadequate.”
Jackson charged that Dukakis’ strategy would freeze “the rich in their wealth, the poor in their poverty.”
‘We Need Change’
“My friends, we need change,” he contended. “Not just a change in President, but a change in priorities.
“The present conservative commitment represents no hope for the homeless, no hope for the malnourished, no hope for the uneducated, no hope for the teachers.”
Jackson called for a five-year freeze on the military budget to help reduce the nation’s budget deficit, and he criticized Dukakis for proposals to increase spending to defend NATO allies. Jackson has proposed that NATO countries and Japan share more of the cost of defense.
“My loyal opponent is offering a military increase in Europe while (Soviet leader Mikhail S.) Gorbachev is moving toward cuts,” Jackson told 4,000 in Santa Cruz as he continued his attack. “What Dukakis is offering is a conservative trap.”
“We’re spending $150 billion to defend Europe,” he said. “Let’s use some of that money for better health care, use some of that money for prenatal care, use some of that money for AIDS research, use some of that money to wipe out drugs.”
Jackson chided Vice President George Bush and Dukakis for their recent efforts to focus on the nation’s drug crisis.
“I love when Bush and Dukakis join me in the war against drugs. But Bush is the sergeant (in the war), Dukakis is a lieutenant. I am the general.”
Jackson said that although Dukakis has been speaking against drugs, he has not gone far enough.
“Dukakis has no plan, has not budgeted a dime against a war on drugs. I have a commitment to wage a war on drugs.”
Jackson was the only major candidate campaigning in California on Sunday, a little more than two weeks before the June 7 primary election. Both Dukakis, his Democratic opponent, and Bush, the presumptive Republican nominee, took the day off from the primary battle.
Daughter of Hostage
In another appearance Sunday, before the rally in downtown Santa Cruz, Jackson performed a wedding for James Monday, 34, a firefighter, and Becky Steen, 26, whose father is being held hostage in Lebanon.
Alann Steen, a journalism professor, was kidnaped by gunmen in January of 1987 from Beirut University College.
The couple said they hoped that by having Jackson perform the ceremony, news of it would somehow reach Steen.
Becky Steen said the couple chose Jackson “because he’s the only candidate talking about humanity issues.”