Vice President Bush today criticized media coverage of the presidential and vice-presidential debates and suggested that President Reagan was judged the winner of Sunday's debate in polls because of the football game that followed it.
"I would simply say that the good thing about last night is you went right from the debate to the football game," Bush said. "There was very little chance for others, whether politicians, pundits or other observers, to tell the American people what they saw with their own eyes. The American people are not dumb. They don't need to get it through a filter."
Bush also said that although most polls showed him winning his debate with Democratic vice-presidential nominee Geraldine A. Ferraro, commentators "begrudgingly called it a draw."
He said many news commentators "don't understand" the "new spirit" Reagan has stirred in the country.
Bush's remarks came in response to a question about "slanted" television election coverage by the three major networks. The question was posed at an "Ask George Bush" forum at Southeastern Missouri State University.
When he arrived at the airport here this morning, Bush walked over to reporters and told them that the polls indicated Reagan won Sunday night's debate and that "they're not going to be able to take it away from us . . . . You will have some analysts out there who might disagree, but not the American people."
Later, Bush told students that he felt that Reagan had done a "superb job" in the debate. But he added, "Well, you gotta be careful. Those guys commentators have the last say.
"The American people are smart. That's why Ronald Reagan is running as strong as he is across the country. They can editorialize all they want. That's their job. The Democrats can feed stuff into the press, just as we try to do . . . . But the American people see this president in control, in command, leading the nation with a new spirit. And that's what a lot of these news commentators don't understand . . . ."
Meanwhile, Bush mistakenly said the CIA manual that detailed how to incite revolution in Nicaragua was released by Counterspy magazine. Peter Teeley, Bush's press secretary, later said Bush intended to refer to another document.
In his forum with students here, Bush defended the administration's policy of working with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, charging that Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi is funding revolutionaries against the Marcos government.
"I'm not suggesting to you Marcos has perfected democracy," he said. "He hasn't . . . but we don't want to pull out the rug from underneath an entire people over there and turn their destiny over to the guerrillas. You know who is financing the out-island revolution in the Philippines. Qaddafi -- that great expert on democracy."