And spokesmen for Bentsen accused Republicans of a "dirty trick" after a senior adviser to Vice President George Bush accused Bentsen of helping his son get into the National Guard.
Bentsen's Son 'Furious'
Bentsen's son, Lloyd Bentsen III, said in an interview with The Times Monday that he was "absolutely furious" about the charge, which New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu, co-chairman of Bush's campaign, made Sunday in a television interview.
What raised Dukakis' ire was a statement issued by Rep. Gerald B. H. Solomon (R-N. Y.), the senior Republican on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
Dukakis was also critical of Sununu's charge that Bentsen had used his connections to assist his son in getting into the Texas National Guard. The charge, made on ABC's "This Week With David Brinkley," was "unfortunate and inaccurate," Dukakis said.
The younger Bentsen, now a venture capitalist in Houston, used stronger words, calling Sununu "a desperate man grasping for straws."
Bush Son in Same Unit
The younger Bentsen served in the 147th Fighter Group of the Texas National Guard along with George W. Bush, the vice president's son. Both men enlisted in the late spring of 1968. At the time, the senior Bush was a congressman and the senior Bentsen, who had served in Congress in the 1940s, was a private businessman, although one who remained politically well connected.
According to the younger Bentsen, he got into the Guard as a result of a chance meeting at a party with the then-commander of the 147th Fighter Group, Brig. Gen. Walter (Buck) Staudt. Bentsen had recently been graduated from Stanford University's business school and Staudt was looking for a financial officer for his unit.
W. worked as a strategist on this campaign.