Bentsen Offers Bush 60 Days’ Notice That He Will Lose Job
Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, campaigning in a blue-collar area of Southern California’s Inland Empire on Friday, offered Vice President George Bush a benefit the Republican candidate opposed granting workers: a 60-day notice that his job will be terminated.
“We’re here to give the Republicans a better break than they would give to the average American,” Bentsen told a cheering audience at a union hall in Bloomington, just several miles from the shuttered steel mill in Fontana.
“We’re here to give them 60 days to vacate the premises,” the Texas senator said just two months before Election Day. About 600 people at the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Hall waved large pink signs saying: “The people of the United States of America would like to inform you, George Herbert Walker Bush, that 60 days from today you will be unemployed.”
The 60-day-notice issue is a favorite of the Democrats, who believe that it portrays the Republicans as being callous toward the average working family and beholden to big business. President Reagan, Bush and his running mate, Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle, all strongly opposed a bill requiring large firms to issue 60 days’ notice for workers about to be laid off. Quayle led the opposition to this bill in the Senate and Bentsen led the successful fight for its passage. It took effect at midnight Aug. 3 without Reagan’s signature.
Earlier Friday during a campaign swing in Iowa, Bentsen charged that 235,000 farmers have been “driven off the land . . . (because) of the mistakes, mismanagement and indifference of the Reagan-Bush Administration.”
The number of farmers who have left farming during this decade “equals all the farmers in Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois combined,” Bentsen said.
“It’s time for a change from the policies and personalities that devastated our farms, punished our farmers and left rural America in the dust,” the Texas senator told several hundred farmers at the World Agricultural Exposition near Cedar Rapids.
The stop in Iowa was scheduled after recent polls showed that a 2-1 Democratic lead there during the summer had largely evaporated. A statewide poll by the Des Moines Register last week gave Gov. Michael S. Dukakis and Bentsen only a 47%-42% lead over Bush and Quayle.
Bentsen will campaign in Los Angeles and San Diego today before heading back to Washington on Sunday.