Democratic presidential nominee Michael S. Dukakis courted the Latino vote today and shrugged off discouraging polls, saying he has “a determination to work, to campaign and to win.” George Bush said Dukakis sounds like a man “just itching to repeal” the new income tax laws of the last eight years.
The Massachusetts governor met with Latino leaders in Denver the morning after a 90-minute appearance on ABC-TV’s “Nightline” show, then flew to Pueblo in southern Colorado for a rally.
“The pollsters are not going to call this election,” Dukakis said. “It’s people that are going to be voting. We have 13 important days ahead of us.”
Bad News From Polls
For the second-straight day, Dukakis was greeted by dismal polls published by major newspapers.
A CBS News-New York Times poll placed him 13 percentage points behind Republican rival George Bush, a further decline in his standing since their Oct. 13 debate in Los Angeles.
Gallup polls showed Dukakis trailing by 14 points among likely voters. An earlier Los Angeles Times poll put him nine points down in must-win California.
Dukakis took no questions from reporters today, but referred to the latest bad-news polls during his breakfast meeting with Latino members of Congress and community leaders in Denver.
‘Inspired and Encouraged’
“I’m inspired and encouraged as I always am when I meet with you,” he told them. “We go forth now from Denver to Pueblo and on across this country to work, to campaign and to win. And we’re going to win.”
Bush, in an economics lecture in Detroit stressing his weeklong campaign theme, said Dukakis “never met a payroll” and doesn’t understand the impact of taxes on business.
Bush campaigned in high-stakes Michigan, with 20 electoral votes at stake on Nov. 8, before heading for rallies in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Billings, Mont.--small states where his aides said the race could be close.
Economic Growth Cited
Bush told more than 1,600 people at the Economic Club of Detroit that Reagan Administration policies have produced astounding economic growth despite Democratic “voices of doom.”
The GOP nominee said he would seek to spur that growth by cutting the capital gains tax rate, a proposal that Dukakis has denounced repeatedly as a tax break for the wealthy.
“It’s not a tax break for the rich, it is a break for those who want to have a job in this country,” Bush said. “Unfortunately, my opponent’s only experience with business is regulating it and taxing it.
“He’s never run a business. . . . He’s never met a payroll. He doesn’t understand how when you’re starting out, you need people to join you in taking a risk. So he paints my proposal as an effort to help the rich.”
The vice president picked up some campaign help today from President Reagan, who defended Bush against Democratic charges of dirty campaigning and lying. Reagan, speaking at a fund-raising luncheon in Baltimore for GOP Senate candidate Alan Keyes, said the Democratic ticket is unjustly accusing Bush of waging a negative campaign because Bush merely has “thrown a clear light on their views.”