Bush Sees Democratic ‘Trojan Horse’ : Politics: He credits McGovern for describing Clinton-Gore ticket as ‘liberal underneath.’ He says opponents are out of touch with nation’s mood.
To listen to George Bush, the Democratic ticket of Bill Clinton and Al Gore is a “Trojan horse,” liberal to the core despite its efforts to appear moderate.
To listen to Bush, the President of the United States--a veteran of three decades in political life--he couldn’t agree more with Ross Perot’s message: “It is time to say ‘so long’ to politics as usual.”
Bush, animated and excited Saturday by a whipped-up crowd that nearly filled a 23,000-seat basketball arena at Brigham Young University, quoted George S. McGovern, the liberal Democratic presidential candidate of 20 years ago, as saying that the Democratic ticket is a “Trojan horse . . . much more liberal underneath.”
Making every effort to portray Clinton and Gore as out of touch with the mood of the nation--much as he did Michael S. Dukakis, the Democratic presidential candidate he defeated four years ago--Bush, who rarely finds himself in agreement with McGovern, said: “George McGovern is an incredibly insightful man.”
He spoke as the Republicans made it clear that they would not hesitate to use against Clinton some of the questions about his background that stymied his early primary election campaign.
In his introduction of Bush, Sen. Jake Garn (R-Utah) pointed to Clinton’s military draft history, and the reason Clinton gave for shifting his draft deferment--that he wanted to maintain his political “viability.”
Garn said that even at age 23, Clinton was concerned “about his future political career.”
“We don’t need those kinds of politicians in either party,” Garn said, eliciting cheers from the young, overwhelmingly white audience in the Marriott Center basketball arena.
Torie Clark, the Bush campaign’s spokeswoman, said: “You can be damn sure that Bill Clinton’s record--what he’s done in the past--will be fair game.” But, she said, Garn prepared his remarks without input from the Bush organization.
And all this at an event billed as “nonpartisan.”
That meant, said Margaret Smoot, a spokeswoman for the university owned by the Mormon Church, that the school turned down some of the requests she said were made by the White House: “sky divers, elephants and fireworks.”
“They wanted a nice political blowout,” she said.
In the end, that’s what they got, even without the balloons and confetti, which also were ruled out.
And Bush made full use of the occasion, attacking the Democratic ticket and keeping up his unrelenting pitch for the support of would-be Perot voters.
“For too many people, politics is now the opposite of progress,” he said, reiterating the message that he has developed since Perot announced he was quitting the race--that those disillusioned with political life in this country should not walk away from the fray, but rather, settle in his camp and elect a Republican Congress.
The President joked that while he was fishing Wednesday and Thursday on the ranch of Secretary of State James A. Baker III in Wyoming, Perot announced that he was dropping out of the presidential race.
Perhaps, he said someone had suggested to him, he should “stay out West hunting another week and bag another trophy.”
Bush built his speech around down-home messages and a “family values” approach.
When he said that “no other success can compensate for failure in the home,” he won a prolonged whistling, standing ovation and shouts of: “Four more years, four more years.”
And, pointing to one of the few rays of sunshine in an otherwise unhappy economic picture, Bush told the crowd: “The last time interest rates stayed low, the Brady Bunch weren’t even on TV yet.”
Before visiting Provo, Bush spent half an hour in the Red Butte Garden, an arboretum on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City, which provided a water-and-reed backdrop as he hammered away at outdoors themes, putting himself firmly in the camp of hunting and fishing enthusiasts in a region of the country where such outdoor activities are especially popular.
Questioned repeatedly about his view of efforts to limit hunting and fishing, Bush pledged that he would “resist any effort to stop hunting and fishing on the public lands,” and expressed his opposition to “extremist tactics” that would let game herds overpopulate and thin out from famine.
Bush also defended the U.S. positions at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro last month, at which he balked at signing a bio-diversity treaty and moved to limit the reach of a global warming treaty.
“I do not consider it leadership to fall in line with a bunch of other countries that accept standards” that they cannot meet, he said. “I did not go down there trying to get in line putting standards and prohibitions on the United States . . . (that) we could not live up to.”
The overnight stop in Utah was Bush’s final destination on a trip that began two weeks ago. It started with an overnight flight to Warsaw, continued for six days in Europe and then, after a weekend in Kennebunkport, Me., moved to California and then to Wyoming for a fishing excursion.
The Utah visit was planned before Perot announced he was abandoning the race, and the state had been seen as one of the normally solidly Republican states where Perot’s appeal could cast the voting in November in doubt.
Without Perot as a factor, however, Bush is likely to concentrate on the conventional, vote-rich states, such as California, New York, Ohio, Illinois and--two he will visit on Tuesday--Pennsylvania and New Jersey.