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Reagan Gladly Borrows Dukakis’ Competency Issue

Times Staff Writer

President Reagan, borrowing themes from the Democratic campaign, boasted Saturday that his own Administration had brought competence and efficiency to government, and he told radio listeners that George Bush, not Michael S. Dukakis, was the candidate on the voters’ side.

Reagan often tweaks Democrats by noting his success at reducing inflation, interest rates and unemployment. But he beefed up his weekly radio message, delivered from his ranch near here, to counter Dukakis’ recent “I’m on your side” appeal to voters.

The President also accepted a challenge implicitly laid down early in the campaign by Dukakis when he asserted that competence, not ideology, was the central issue of the campaign.

“Under George Bush’s leadership,” Reagan said, “we lifted the weight of excessive regulations, and that played a major role in getting our economy to really fly.

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“As a result of our many reforms, the government does all of its many jobs better and faster,” Reagan said. “Come to think of it, I’ll stack our record of competence against any--any day of the week.”

Speaking for the Democrats, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) attacked Bush while extolling Dukakis as a man who would bring Americans together.

“George Bush’s campaign is drawn on fear, on the lowest instincts, not on our highest hopes,” Hoyer said. “He has told us what he is against, not what he is for.”

Dukakis, Hoyer said, has spelled out a “mainstream program for a Main Street America.”

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