MACON, Ga. -- President Reagan charged Monday that Walter Mondale's election would 'jeopardize security of this nation' and said that if John Kennedy were alive he would be ashamed of those who would 'sell out the cause of freedom.'
In a stinging denunciation of Mondale for having 'one of the weakest records (in Congress) for supporting a strong national defense,' Reagan quoted Democrat after Democrat to show how the liberals now leading the party 'have left the mainstream.'
The president quoted one of Mondale's primary rivals, Sen. Fritz Hollings of South Carolina, as saying, ''Walter Mondale thinks the Soviet Union would never violate an arms agreement. I think he's naive.''
Reagan then told how Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, criticized Mondale for voting against major defense programs, such as the B-1 bomber, Trident submarine, cruise missiles and the M-1 tank.
'Now personally, I don't know if he would outlaw slingshots,' Reagan said of Mondale. 'But he would jeopardize the security of this nation and we're not going to let him.'
Looking to a second term, Reagan declared, 'We want to reach a future where the American eagle soars. He (Mondale) would take us back to the days of the sore eagle.'
At a stop, in Greenville, S.C., reporters asked Reagan on what he based his contention that Mondale would jeopardize the nation's security. 'Well, his voting record in the Senate would certainly indicate that,' the president replied.
Asked if he thought Kennedy truly would be 'ashamed' of Mondale, Reagan responded, 'I can't make that judgment now.' But, without elaborating, he said, 'I think they would have disagreed.'
Reagan's withering attack on Mondale came in the midst of a campaign swing through the president's Southern stronghold, including stops in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina -- three states where his aides say he leads Mondale by an average of 22 points.
During a stop in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Reagan declared he can 'hardly wait' for the second and final TV debate with Mondale, set for this Sunday, on the topic of foreign affairs. In a speech to a cheering crowd of 9,000 at the University of Alabama, president lambasted Mondale as confused and baffled about America's role on the world stage.
The appearances took on an aggressive tone as Reagan responded to the fresh challenge to his re-election posed by Mondale's strong showing in their first debate Oct. 7.
At Macon's City Hall, the president was greeted with rebel yells as he addressed a cheering crowd of about 20,000.
'Whenever I talk about FDR, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy, my opponents start tearing their hair out. They just can't stand it,' he said.
'It highlights how far they themselves have strayed from the strength of the Democratic political tradition.'
Reagan praised Kennedy for standing up to the Soviets, especially in the Cuban missile crisis.
'Were he alive today, I believe he would be ashamed of those in the liberal Democratic leadership who would weaken our defense, endanger our security, and sell out the cause of freedom inLatin America,' Reagan said.
While ripping into Mondale during his stop in Tuscaloosa, Reagan also assured Americans for the first time that they need not worry about Social Security finances for the next half century.
Answering a question from the crowd on Social Security, the president said, 'I can tell you that I think that for more than 50 years we can look down the future and see that this program is on a sound financial basis and you won't have to worry about it.'
Told at the Tuscaloosa airport Mondale had promised to 'have it out' with him Sunday night in Kansas City over the question of security for Americans in Lebanon, Reagan responded, 'I can hardly wait.'
In his university speech, Reagan charged Mondale 'seems confused about so many things.'
'When we liberated Grenada from communist thugs, we were being a good friend to our Caribbean neighbors. ... We can be proud of what we did that day,' Reagan said.
Mondale 'seems to have that liberation confused with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan,' Reagan said. 'He said what we did in Grenada eroded 'our moral authority' to criticize the Soviets. Well, I've never had any trouble criticizing them.'
The president also said Mondale 'said, some years back, that 'the old days' of Soviet strategy of 'suppression by force' are over. Right after he said it, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia.
'After they invaded Afghanistan, he said, 'It just baffles me why the Soviets these last few years have behaved as they have,'' Reagan said. 'So much baffles him.'
Reagan also heavily criticized Mondale's plans to raise taxes to cut the budget deficit. 'Buying his economic policies is like going to a used car lot to buy back the lemon you got rid of four years ago,' the president said.