President Reagan wound up his reelection campaign tonight, in the state where his political career began, with a nationally televised appeal for "the future of this dream we call America."
Reagan's half-hour speech, taped Wednesday in the White House, concluded a final day of campaigning in which his strategists predicted a landslide victory and the president repeatedly evoked the future in phrases stressing his themes and style of the past.
"Tonight, our expansion is leading the world into recovery, our alliances are stronger, we are deterring aggression, the Soviets are no longer advancing -- and all of that makes peace more secure," Reagan said in his television speech. "As President Eisenhower once said, 'Everything is booming but the guns.' "
Reagan was in a sentimental mood in San Diego tonight after a final rally that featured fireworks, skydivers and a mass singing of "America the Beautiful," led by Wayne Newton.
On the short flight from there to Los Angeles, the president poured champagne for aides and reporters, saying, "The game's all over, and I'll probably be the most nervous person here until tomorrow night, waiting for it to get up on the scoreboard."
Nancy Reagan, whom the president had kissed as the final rally ended, interrupted and said, "No, I will be."
As Air Force One took off on her husband's final campaign flight, she rolled an orange down the aisle and said: "I'm glad it's over. It's been a long campaign."
Asked whether he would miss giving his basic campaign speech, which he has repeated so many times that reporters were chanting it with him in unison during the final days of the campaign, Reagan said: "Do you miss boils?"
Reagan said the campaign's highlight for him was the response of young people, who greeted him in force this morning when he returned for a nostalgic speech at the state capitol in Sacramento where he had served as governor of California for eight years.
As he spoke, Reagan said, he recalled the time in 1968 when he was booed by student dissenters at a rally in front of the capitol where he confronted them.
Standing on the steps of the capitol today, Reagan said: "I'm filled with so many memories of times before when I have stood here, including taking the oath of office to serve you as governor . . . . And I remember saying, as I stood here and faced you, the people of California. . . that all of us together had an opportunity to start a prairie fire that would sweep across this country."
Afterward, Reagan addressed noisy rallies at a suburban Los Angeles junior college and the Fashion Valley Shopping Center in San Diego, where he concluded his 1980 campaign against President Carter.
At every stop he was greeted with chants of "Four more years" and "Fifty states, fifty states."
And at every stop Reagan gave the familiar speech he has been using for several weeks -- one that celebrates peace and prosperity, calls for "high tech, not high taxes," and invites Democrats and independents to "come walk with us down the path of hope and opportunity."
In his television speech tonight, Reagan said, "Tomorrow, we can vote to go forward with an America of momentum, or back to an America of malaise . . . . "
"Why raise our taxes when we can raise our sights?" he said.
Reagan also staunchly defended his defense and foreign policies, using the phrase "noble cause," which he once applied to the war in Vietnam, as a description of U.S. actions in Lebanon and Grenada.
"We have known great joy, as when we welcomed back our soldiers and those students from Grenada, but also enduring grief from the loss of brave men on the Grenada rescue mission and on our peace-keeping mission in Beirut," he said. "Each gave his life in a noble cause."
Reagan said his effort to improve U.S. defenses is matched by a desire for genuine arms control. Answering questions from reporters, the president said the Soviets, not the United States, abandoned arms-control talks in Geneva.
"We're going to do everything we can to get them back," Reagan said.
Throughout the day, Reagan jabbed at the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and used its speaker, Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill Jr. (D-Mass.), as a symbol of inaction.
Reagan derisively recalled O'Neill's early warning to him that Sacramento was "not in the big leagues," and urged voters to support him by "sending us a Congress we can work with."
Meanwhile, the president's senior political adviser, Stuart K. Spencer, and his pollster, Richard B. Wirthlin, were telling reporters that a historic victory is within Reagan's grasp. Wirthlin said that his trackings showed that Reagan had a possibility of sweeping 50 states and would win at least 57 percent of the popular vote and carry 45 states.