Bush Wins 1988 Election

Published: 1988
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Vice President George Walker Bush and Secretary of Education William Bennett sit among children in Washington on July 27, 1988, at an exhibition of inventions made by children. (UPI Photo/Tim Clary/Files)

Micheal Dukakis:“I called vice president Bush to congratulate him on his victory.”

George Bush:“His call was personal, it was genuinely friendly and it was in the great tradition of American politics.”

Howard Dicus: That's how it ended. A cordial concession from Micheal Dukakis, graciously acknowledged by George Bush. The end of campaign 88 was simple, short and smooth, in contrast to the campaign itself which had been complex, long and sometime harsh. In looking back correspondent Bill Small was struck by the variety of people running for President in 1988.

Bill Small: The Democrats started with the most candidates, seven of them. Although the early primaries whittled the list down rapidly. Gary Hart's relationship with the Miami model forced him to call it quits twice. After a hiatus of several months, he resumed campaigning.

Gary Hart: “To those of you in and out of politics who may face setbacks, failures or defeat, I hope you will simply say as I do, hell no.”

Bill Small: But Gary Hart never ran more than a solid dead last. Arizona's Bruce Babbitt spoke bluntly with voters about the need for more tax revenue.

Bruce Babbitt: “I am deeply concerned about the sense of urgency about coming to grips with our economic future.”

Bill Small: But Babbitt found his fortunes declining. Missouri congressman Dick Gephardt ran well in Iowa on a trade protectionist platform that was aimed at the South Koreans.

Dick Gephardt: I am going to ask them to take off those tariffs that we don't put on their products and if they refuse, they are going to walk away from that negotiating table wondering how they are going to sell Hyundai's in America for $48000 a car.”

Bill Small: But Gephardt slumped after Iowa. Tennessee senator Albert Gore pinned his hopes on the heavily southern Super Tuesday primary.

Albert Gore: We are doing extremely well throughout the Super Tuesday states.

Bill Small: But Gore all, but ignored the north and north-east than lost his bet. Illinois senator Paul Simon managed to hang on until the Illinois primary.

Paul Simon: We are going to win Illinois and we are going on.

Bill Small: But skimpy financiers forced Simon to suspend his campaign. By the time of the New York primary, it was two man race between Massachusetts governor Micheal Dukakis and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and although there was little doubt of the eventual nominee, Jackson remained a potent political force through the Atlantic convention and the general elections.

Jesse Jackson: “If lions and lambs can find common ground, surely we can as well.”

Bill Small: Republican's had slightly fewer candidates to choose among, but it was still a crowd. Among those forced to bail out early were former secretary of state Alexander Haig.

Alexander Haig: “My choice is to work for the principle and the policies that led me into the race in the first place.”

Bill Small: And former Delaware governor Pierre du Pont.

Pierre du Pont: “There is much work to be done.”

Bill Small: New York congressman Jack Kemp and television evangelist Pat Robertson fought it out for the conservative vote.

Jack Kemp: “We need a solid conservative and that's Jack Kemp“

Pat Robertson: “I am being urged by conservatives to stay in.”

Bill Small: But in the end Kemp and Robertson were both forced to drop out. Kansas senator Robert Dole started off well, beating vice president George Bush in the Iowa Caucus.

Robert Dole: “We beat him a 99 out of 99 counties that's what it was all about”

Bill Small: Bush managed to come from behind and win in New Hampshire and although Dole fought hard, by late spring there was little doubt that Bush would be the nominee to emerge from the New Orleans convention and face Micheal Dukakis for the presidency. The is Bill Small.