Sen. Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) chided Vice President Bush yesterday for abandoning Tuesday's South Dakota primary: "If somebody else wants to abandon South Dakota, that's up to them," Dole said at a news conference in Sioux Falls. "This is part of America, and if you're going to be a national candidate, you ought to be running in every state."
By pulling out of South Dakota, where Gov. George S. Mickelson and Sen. Larry Pressler have endorsed Dole, and summarily canceling thousands of dollars of broadcast advertising scheduled to run here this weekend, Bush has angered his supporters and ceded the primary to Dole.
Bush aides had said they considered South Dakota a lost cause after Dole's Iowa win.
Bush, however, had campaigned here and spent more than $100,000 on staff and television advertisements, according to Dole chairman William E. Brock. The Bush withdrawal "exposes deep insecurity" within the Bush campaign, Brock said in a statement. "Bush seems to be psychologically avoiding the Midwest as if he is afraid of being rejected again."
With a South Dakota victory, Dole aides contend, Dole will be able to take advantage of strength in states like Missouri, Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee on "Super Tuesday."
Commenting on his prospects after a painful nine-point loss in New Hampshire Tuesday, Dole said yesterday, "I'm used to getting up after I've been knocked down."