Saga Of The Wayward Whales – October 27, 1988

At first, they didn't want to leave - but eventually got the idea.

At first, they didn’t want to leave – but eventually got the idea.

CBS World News Roundup – October 27, 1988 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

The good news for this October 27th in 1988 was two California Grey Whales, stranded in the waters off Alaska, finally heading for open waters, behind a Soviet ice-breaker which had cut a path for the Whales as an escape channel. At first, the Whales wouldn’t cooperate, and then rescuers, cutting a breathing hole, managed to point the disoriented Whales in the right direction and after two months, the Whales were heading out to sea to join the others who had already migrated south. Both Moscow and Washington congratulated each other on the successful rescue effort.

Meanwhile – President Reagan, before leaving on a campaign swing for Republican Presidential candidate George Bush, told reporters he was recommending to Congress the tearing down of the nearly-completed U.S. Embassy in Moscow, which was believed to be riddled with listening devices. The job of tearing down and rebuilding was expected to take 5 years and cost some $300 million.

The Kremlin refused to confirm reports from West Germany’s Helmut Kohl that all Soviet political prisoners were to be released by years end. It was unclear how many would be involved.

Now that Mikhail Gorbachev was President of The Supreme Soviet, word came out that the upcoming 2-day meeting of the Soviet Parliament would be a public discussion of the budget; the first time ever such a event was made public. It was Gorbachev’s pledge of openness which prompted the dramatic move. As the meeting got underway, it was already disclosed there was a huge budget deficit – almost as big as America‘s. That, and Gorbachev’s commitment to improving consumer goods in the coming year as well as investment in heavy industry to be sharply cut back, with the money saved to be spent stocking store shelves. Many considered the move crucial if Gorbachev’s move to make Perestroika work. Unless he could show his people some improvement in their lives, his reform efforts could bog down in an atmosphere of distrust and discontent.

The bad news was the same-old/same-old mud slinging, historically taking place in a Presidential election. Republican hopeful, vice-President George Bush was going at it with Democratic hopeful Michael Dukakis. The polls were showing Bush with an 8 point lead over Dukakis, while other polls gave Bush as much as a double-digit edge. Still, Bush was busy campaigning in already safe states, making sure his lead was secure, while hammering away at Dukakis and his tax message. Dukakis was busy running new TV ads and stumping through Illinois before doing an interview with Dan Rather. The interview was a way of showing Dukakis wasn’t afraid to answer tough questions, while Bush refused to be interviewed. And so it went.

All that, and a lot more for this October 27th in 1988, as presented by The CBS World News Roundup.

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