6th Member Quits Bush Ethnic Team; Reagan Raps Bias Hint : Paper Links Slavoff to Nazi-Aligned Bulgarian Legion
A sixth member of an ethnic coalition supporting Republican George Bush’s presidential candidacy resigned today as President Reagan declared that “there isn’t one iota of discrimination” among the group’s members.
Bush campaign spokesman Mark Goodin said the resignation of Radi Slavoff as national co-chairman of Bulgarians for Bush was accepted today.
Slavoff quit the campaign after the Philadelphia Inquirer identified him over the weekend as former head of the Bulgarian National Front, which the paper said was formed after World War II by members of the Nazi-aligned Bulgarian Legion.
To Protect Campaign
Reagan told reporters at the White House he believes five other ethnic advisers resigned Monday “because they didn’t want to harm the campaign.”
The President was not asked specifically about the resignation of Frederic V. Malek, a key Bush operative and deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee who was named in a published report about possibly anti-Semitic activities during the Nixon Administration.
Asked whether he thought the Bush campaign suffered from an appearance of anti-Semitism among some of the vice president’s supporters, Reagan replied, “No.”
Asked to elaborate, he said, “Because I know him (Bush) and I know the people involved and there isn’t an iota of discrimination in any of them.”
Political Motive Seen
Bush and the five former officials of the ethnic coalition said the controversy was politically motivated.
Bush, who is campaigning in Chicago today, promised a new era of individual “economic empowerment” and urged voters to reject Democrat Michael S. Dukakis’ vision of “an America shackled to the mistakes of the past.”
The vice president criticized “prophets of pessimism” whom he accused of ignoring the fruits of eight years of President Reagan’s economic policies--lower interest rates and inflation and creation of nearly 18 million jobs since 1982.
“Americans at every income level are certifiably better off than they were in 1981,” Bush told the Executives’ Club of Chicago. “So the next time somebody tells you that America is declining, tell ‘em to put away the 1980 calendar. This is 1988. America is a rising nation again.”
The GOP nominee offered a “flexible freeze” on government spending without any tax increases and--borrowing a phrase from former Democratic presidential contender Jesse Jackson--"economic empowerment” for the individual rather than government controls.
Five quit Bush team, Page 19.