George Bush proposed a tax-free savings account for middle-income Americans today and also said he now thinks he did better in Sunday night's debate than he thought at first.
Bush, in remarks in Columbus, said his proposed account, under which $1,000 a year could be invested tax free, would help Americans "become better able to afford a home, pay for college or start a business" and would also contribute to national economic strength.
Under the plan, the money would have to be invested for at least five years, and only people with adjusted gross income of less than $60,000 would be eligible. Taxpayers with adjusted income between $50,000 and $60,000 would get only a partial deduction.
Bush's campaign estimated the program would cost the Treasury $70 million in 1989, with the amount increasing to $550 million by 1993.
'I Feel Better Today'
On the flight to Columbus, Bush also upgraded his assessment of his performance in the debate with Democratic nominee Michael S. Dukakis on Sunday night, saying, "I feel better today about the way the debate went than the night of the debate."
"As I think I told you, I felt it was about even, and I now think maybe we did a little better than that in terms of what we needed to do. But I can't prove it."
Earlier today, at the University of Miami in Oxford, Ohio, Bush said of Dukakis in the debate, "We smoked him out" and succeeded in pasting a liberal label on the Massachusetts governor.
"I'm going to keep on using it," Bush declared, in their tight campaign race for the White House.
Bush also told several thousand students at a Young College Republicans rally on the University of Miami campus that Dukakis is inexperienced in foreign affairs.
"America doesn't need a President who has to enroll in Foreign Policy 101 to understand the kind of world we live in," the vice president said.
'How Did I Do?'
Bush asked, "How did I do?" in his nationally televised debate with Dukakis on Sunday and the reply was a roar of approval from the crowd.