George Bush is convinced he will defeat Ronald Reagan in Tuesday's Pennsylvania presidential primary. "I don't believe all these damn polls" that show him behind, he said.
"They've been wrong, wrong, wrong -- you watch," Bush said in a Pennsylvania radio interview as he campaigned for his one-on-one contest with the former California governor.
"It is a race between me and Ronald Reagan," Bush said. "So I'll have no excuse in Pennsylvania." He said that if Pennsylvanians "do the right thing" and make him the winner, he can begin to turn around the national GOP situation that has given Reagan the runaway lead in delegates.
At a shipyard in Chester, Bush added that an independent presidential candidacy by Rep. John B. Anderson could work to his advantage because he could pick up support that otherwise would have been Anderson's.
Michigan Gov. William G. Milliken, host governor for the Republican National Convention, yesterday endorsed the presidential candidacy of George Bush.
Milliken, one of the party's leading moderates, said he had no illusions about Bush's chances for the GOP nomination.
"I realize at this point George Bush is a long shot," he said at a press conference in Ann Arbor. "But he is also the Republican Party's best shot at putting together a winning campaign in the fall."
The announcement, one day after Milliken met with Bush in Pittsburgh, was somewhat of a surprise. It came five days before the Pennsylvania primary when GOP frontrunner Ronald Reagan was picking up endorsement after endorsement from members of the party's moderate wing.
Milliken wanted to make his announcement before leaving on a week-long trade mission to Japan, his top staff aide George Weeks said. "He is realistic enough to know that if Bush doesn't win in Pennsylvania, we'll get clobbered in Michigan and maybe won't be in the race on May 20 [the day of the Michigan primary.]"
Weeks said Milliken "is closer philosphically to John Anderson than any candidate in the race" but became disillusioned with the Illinois congressman's talk of running as an independent candidate.
President Carter won Idaho's Democratic Party district caucuses, but his victory was tarnished by a large uncommited bloc of what a Carter strategist called "protest votes."
Carter carried 49 percent of the vote from the 35 district caucuses Thursday night, with 29 percent of the vote going to Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass).
Twenty-two percent of the vote was cast for uncommitted delegates.
A preliminary allocation indicates Carter will win eight national convention delegates, while five will go to Kennedy and four will be uncommitted.
Rep. Tom Harkin of Iowa said yesterday he has decided not to go after Iowa's Democratic National Convention delegates as a favoriteson presidential candiate. The reason, he said, is that the Carter administration has recently moved to shore up the nation's agricultural economy.
But after a meeting with President Carter, Harkin told reporters he feels more needs to be done if the administration hopes to prevent an economic collapse that could wipe out the nation's farmers.
"Last week, when I said I was seriously considering running as a favorite son in Iowa," Harkin said, "no action had been taken on the agricultural situation. Last week, the Fed [Federal Reserve Board] said it couldn't open its discount window to nonmember banks; this week they said they could.
"Last week . . . the president had not signed the bill [providing emergency assistance to otherwise ineligible farmers]. He has since signed it."