WASHINGTON -- Walter Mondale's warning that taxes must be increased to cut the ballooning federal deficit drew fire today from the Republican Party chairman and from a campaign consultant for President Reagan.
'Mr. Reagan will raise taxes and so will I,' Mondale told the Democratic Convention Thursday night in his acceptance speech as the party's presidential candidate. 'He won't tell you. I just did.'
Asked if Reagan would raise taxes, GOP Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf said on NBC: 'I don't know if he would be raising taxes .... Raising taxes alone is not the answer. If it was, we wouldn't have the deficit.
'The American people today are not undertaxed as Mr. Mondale would have you believe,' he said. 'We are today taxed at as high a level as we've ever been taxed in our history.'
Stuart Spencer, a political consultant to Reagan's re-election campaign, told CBS he did not know what Reagan would do, but, 'I know that historically Ronald Reagan fights taxes. He is opposed to taxes and ... I've never heard a politician say he is going to raise taxes to 30 million, 40 million, 50 million people in a campaign.'
Both men downplayed the possibility that vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro will put the Mondale camp over the top, saying the real issue is Mondale himself.
Fahrenkopf said Ms. Ferraro's nomination has been successful in the short run -- 'Ms. Ferraro has been the one exciting thing to happen at this convention this week' -- but the issue is the long run.
Spencer said her candidacy is 'interesting, but I don't think it's going to affect the Reagan campaign one way or the other. He's going to run on leadership. He's going to run on the fact that the message that we get from this convention ... is that Walter Mondale has decided that he is going to run as a liberal because he has picked a liberal running mate.'
Asked whether Republicans would challenge her qualifications to be vice president, Fahrenkopf replied, 'The question of qualifications is an interesting one. To be qualified, you only have to be a certain age and be an American citizen. Certainly, she meets those qualifications.
'The real issue is not a comparison of Ms. Ferraro with Mr. (George) Bush,' he said. 'The question is: Is Walter Mondale the right person to be leading this nation for the next four years?'