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Dukakis Wishes Bush Well on Inauguration Day With AM-Inaugural Rdp, Bjt

January 20, 1989 GMT

BOSTON (AP) _ While George Bush was sworn in as president Friday, a subdued Michael Dukakis watched on television, eating a tuna sandwich and sharing his disappointment with his staff.

″I’d be less than candid if I didn’t say I’d like to be the guy raising his hand and taking the oath of office today,″ Dukakis said.

The Massachusetts governor, who was faulted for his impersonal campaign style, showed little emotion on inauguration day other than to acknowledge that he felt disappointed. ″It’s his day,″ Dukakis said.

Dukakis - who has not ruled out another White House run in 1992 - credited Bush with ″a good speech.″ The defeated Democrat said he sensed Bush was ″reaching out″ to Democrats and welcomed Bush’s attention to the problems of drug abuse and homelessness.

In a telegram sent to the White House on Friday, Dukakis offered congratulations and best wishes.

″I am sure that other members of my party were touched as I was by the sense of optimism, the call to duty and the generosity of spirit by which you called on all of us in your inaugural address to work together to eradicate homelessness, wipe out the scourge of drugs that poisons our children and build a stronger, more secure America,″ Dukakis wrote.

Talking to reporters afterward, Dukakis said he felt proud of the American political system for its stability and orderly transition to a new administration.

″I wish him well and look forward to working with him,″ the governor said. ″One of the great things about this system of ours is the transfer of power peacefully.″

Dukakis, who was invited to the inaugural ceremonies, said he chose not to attend because he had work to do in Massachusetts, where the $11.6 billion budget is at least $600 million out of balance.