Mondale delivers final campaign arguments to US 'jury'
Walter Mondale, who was schooled as a lawyer, says it's now time for ''summing up my case to the American jury.'' As the final hours of Election '84 tick away, Mr. Mondale asserts that the Reagan team has committed a host of misdeeds. Mondale charges that ''this crowd'' in the White House is:
* Guilty of waging an arms race and risking world peace.
* Guilty of putting military force, rather than diplomacy, at the forefront of United States policy in Central America.
* Guilty of a lack of care for needy Americans, including the elderly and minorities.
* Guilty of favoring ''wealthy Americans'' over ''working Americans'' in tax policy.
* Guilty of ignoring concerns about human rights in South Africa, the Philippines, Chile, Haiti, and other nations.
* Guilty of endangering the future of the American economy by ringing up the largest federal deficits in United States history.
* Guilty of trying to destroy the federal role in American education.
* Guilty of ignoring their responsibilities to protect America's air, water, and soil.
* Guilty of attempting to mix church and state on such issues as school prayer and abortion.
* Guilty of trying to turn back the clock on civil rights, including the rights of women, minorities, and the poor.
It's a lengthy list of particulars. Mondale has jetted from California to Oregon to Washington State to the Midwest, and next into the South during this final week to repeat them.
His speech writers give him a text of these charges. But often he does not need the written page. After nearly two years of arguing against Reagan & Co., he can recite the charges from memory.
Those who have traveled with Mondale during these past months say he is now more relaxed, more confident, more in tune with his ebullient crowds than before - despite the discouraging polls.
Some of those on Mondale's campaign plane suggest that as his prospects of victory dim, Mondale seems to be campaigning more for the cause he represents than for his own personal triumph. Others suggest Mondale always seems to do best when he is behind.
Gone now are most of the personal charges Mondale once hurled at the President - charges that Reagan is uninformed, out of touch, incompetent. Mondale has turned back to the central issues.
No issue seems to inspire Mondale more than human rights, a policy that was central to foreign relations under his former boss, Jimmy Carter.
''When this crowd took over (in the Reagan White House), they dumped human rights as a foreign policy priority,'' Mondale told a gymnasium full of students at Portland (Ore.) State University this week.
''(Reagan) appointed a UN ambassador who drew a distinction between our adversaries who torture their people and some of our so-called friends who torture their people.
''There are two ways America can be defeated - by succumbing to our enemies, or by becoming like our enemies. We must do neither.''
Mondale recited a roll call of nations where he said Reagan has been on the side of oppression: the Philippines, where Vice-President George Bush traveled to ''toast the love of democracy of the Marcos regime''; Haiti, where Reagan supplied weapons to ''the corrupt Duvalier dictatorship''; Argentina, where Reagan ''took the heat off'' the junta that ''had tortured, kidnapped, and murdered tens of thousands of citizens''; South Africa, where Reagan ''cozied up to the racist government.''
At another stop, in San Jose, Calif., Mondale addressed the fairness issue, especially taxes.
''If you trust Mr. Reagan, you're trusting someone who has fought fair taxes all his life,'' Mondale warned.
''(Reagan) thinks that most loopholes are legitimate. He's spoken of eliminating the corporate income tax. His tax program gave people making $200, 000 a $60,000 tax cut - but if you were making $30,000 or less, all taxes considered, you got no relief at all, or your taxes actually went up.''
He told the outdoor crowd of several thousand in San Jose: ''I want an America that's fair. There's no question that this massive national debt must be reduced. It won't go away by itself. The question is, Who will pay? And the way that Mr. Reagan and I answer that question is the big difference in this election.
''Who will pay under Mr. Reagan? Not his rich friends. Not big corporations. Not defense contractors. Who does that leave? The same working Americans of middle and moderate income who got socked by Reaganomics the last time.''
In San Diego, the theme was justice. Look at Reagan's record, Mondale suggests.
''They (the Reagan administration) trashed the Civil Rights Commission. ... Their head of the Civil Rights division (at the Justice Department) opposes affirmative action for women and minorities. They had an antitrust chief who said he'd be content if there were just a hundred companies in America....
''They have tried to wipe out entirely legal assistance to consumers, tenants , senior citizens, and poor people.''
Will American voters find Reagan ''guilty'' of all these charges?
The public opinion polls say no. Mondale insists the answer will be yes. The outcome of this ''case,'' the biggest in lawyer Mondale's career, will be known to us all in less than a week.