George Bush Sr. on Crime
President of the U.S., 1989-1993; Former Republican Rep. (TX)
Horton was in prison for [murder, when furloughed,] and had already been convicted--and released--for attempted murder in South Carolina. While on his Dukakis-granted furlough, Horton raped and tortured a Maryland couple in their home for 12 hours. The Maryland couple flew to Boston to sit down with Dukakis. Dukakis refused to meet with them. Instead, he issued a statement reaffirming his strong support for furloughing murderers. So Dukakis did not lose the 1988 election because "he did not adequately respond to Republican attacks," as NPR put it. He lost because of an idiotic furlough program he supported, protected and staunchly defended.
I asked Dad recently about the whole Will Horton episode: "I felt we did the right thing. It was definitely a crime issue. We got on Dukakis about having this lenient furlough program where he let people out of jail, and here was the best example--a man who was a convicted rapist who went out and raped again when he was on furlough." The crime issue was very powerful.
Yet 3 years later Bush continued to deny that the issue was designed to be racially divisive: "The point of Willie Horton was not Willie Horton himself. The point was, do you believe in a furlough program that releases people from jail so they can go out and rape, pillage and plunder again? That's what the issue was." Even Lee Atwater was so ashamed of the ugliness he had helped perpetuate that he made a public apology before his death in 1991.
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George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Past Vice Presidents:
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