At Voter Rallies, Confident Reagan Refers to Bush as ‘Next President’

Times Staff Writer

President Reagan may not be ready to say the L-word--landslide--yet, but Friday he sounded a lot like Vice President George Bush has already defeated Michael S. Dukakis.

Exuding confidence in the outcome of next Tuesday’s election, Reagan--in speeches in New Jersey and Illinois--repeatedly referred to Bush as the next President.

Addressing a rally at the Main Street Mall here, Reagan alluded to Bush’s oft-used line about not raising taxes--"Read my lips; no new taxes.” Reagan claimed that incumbent New Jersey Democratic Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg will “do everything he can not to read the next President’s lips.” But the GOP challenger, Pete Dawkins, “will give lip-reading courses to the entire Congress,” Reagan said.

Such confidence, however, is not preventing Reagan from making another trip to California, whose 47 electoral votes are still considered up for grabs.


White House officials announced that Reagan will campaign in Southern California on Monday and return to Washington that night.

The 77-year-old President urged voters here to join him in “setting America on the course to the new millennium” of peace, prosperity, opportunity and hope by voting for Bush. The election is “a package deal,” he said. “We need to win in both Congress and the White House for it to count the way it should count.”

Reagan also continued borrowing from Dukakis’ “on-your-side” theme and poked fun at the Massachusetts governor’s height as well, telling the college rally: “So if you want to know who’s on the side of the little guy, well, I’ll tell you--it’s the big guy, the big guy from Texas,” referring to Bush.

Reagan said “the next eight years can be a time of economic growth and unprecedented hope for America and the world,” citing potential progress in U.S.-Soviet arms negotiations and efforts to establish democracies in Latin countries.