News from the polls were not good for Dukakis. He was reported to be some 13 points behind Bush and some thought only a miracle could pull this one out of the fire, since those polled felt Dukakis would be soft on crime, weaken U.S. defenses and be bad for the economy – it was a lot to overcome in two weeks. So Dukakis took to the air, for a 90 minute interview on the ABC News Magazine Nightline in an attempt to shore up the bad numbers. Nonetheless, Campaign Chairman Paul Brountas said he did not believe the polls, indicating that people did not like to be told and liked to make up their own minds and they were going to make up their minds by looking carefully at the candidates. Truths to tell, most of the polls showed the Dukakis message was not resonating with voters and that, in fact, the gap was growing wider.
The Bush campaign was foregoing the live TV interviews, saying that giving interviews so close to the election was a sign of desperation and that it was more important not to take time out for media appearances, but rather travel around the country, campaign hard and see the voters face to face.
Meanwhile, in Moscow there was an apparent Human Rights breakthrough, with visiting West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl telling reporters that Moscow had agreed to releasing all people who had been considered political prisoners by the end of 1988. However, the definition of Political Prisoner remained unclear. Western government have given the Soviet government a list of people they believed to have been jailed or sent to psychiatric hospitals for their political or religious beliefs. But some of those, not in the west who were recently released said they left behind people whose names are not on anybody’s list, but who are being held for the same reasons. Amnesty International reported that they believed some 200 Political prisoners were being held behind bars, that compare with about 10,000 a few years earlier.
Amnesty International also reported that the revival of the infamous Death Squads in El Salvador had so far resulted in the assassination of hundreds of suspected government opponents. The re-emergence of the Squads, made up of troops and police coincided with the Armed Forces was in open opposition to the government of José Napoleon Duarte.
And that’s a small slice of what went on, this October 26, 1988 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.