DETROIT -- Vice President George Bush took a day off from the campaign Sunday to watch the World Series, but a spokesman said he was ready to show that his Democratic opponents had, indeed, said U.S. Marines in Lebanon had 'died in shame.'
Bush, who participated in pre-game ceremonies at Tiger Stadium, greeted members of the Detroit Tigers and the San Diego Padres in their dugouts, sat with baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth and handed a ball to Detroit Hall of Famer George Kell to throw out the first pitch.
Spokesman Peter Teeley told reporters Bush would be prepared to prove, with quotations, that Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro had said the Marines 'died in shame' as he had charged during Thursday's debate with Ferraro.
'They clearly stated their positions on it. ... We have statements from both of them that fully justified Bush's statement during the debate,' Teeley said.
When asked about a demand from Ferraro campaign manager John Sasso that Bush apologize for saying he 'tried to kick a little ass' in the debate, Teeley said, 'He (Sasso) just wants to get his name in the paper.'
As Bush walked between the dugouts and took his seat just to the right of home plate, people in the crowd yelled, 'Kick some ass.'
Bush will spend three days in California, where Democrats hope to gain ground on the Republican ticket, then campaign in Oregon, where Walter Mondale is given a chance of winning, and in Washington state. He stops in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Friday on the way home to Washington.
In an apparent bid to dash any doubts that he is not a strong enough personality to become president -- he is said to be considering a presidential campaign in 1988 -- Bush laughed off news that his private remark to a New Jersey dock worker had become public.
He had told the supporter, 'We tried to kick a little ass' in the debate.
Bush said it was merely 'an old Texas football expression' he and his children use 'all the time.'
Sen. Paul Laxalt, R-Nev., general chairman of the Reagan-Bush campaign, said on ABC's 'This Week With David Brinkley' Sunday that Bush made the remark 'in a private mode' and speculated that 'lingering somewhere in his psyche' was a recollection of President Carter's private 1980 comment he would kick Edward Kennedy's ass in Democratic primaries.
Edward Rollins, Reagan-Bush campaign manager, said during a CBS interview Sunday the comment was a sporting phrase and not intended to be sexist.