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CLINTON FIRES VERBAL VOLLEYS AT BUSH

With new polls showing him well ahead of his Democratic presidential rivals in Illinois and Michigan, Bill Clinton Saturday turned his sights on President Bush, accusing him of ignoring the middle class and helping the rich.

"I don't promise you a rose garden but I'll tell you one thing: We'll be going in the right direction," the Arkansas governor said here."This guy says, `What do you expect of me? I'm just the president. It's almost as if he's been gone for three years and can't believe the mess that Dan Quayle made of things," Clinton said.

Later, at a shopping mall in suburban Alton, an industrial town that has fallen on hard times, Clinton mocked Bush for his 1988 "Read my lips - No new taxes" pledge and said he would not make the same promise.

All three Democrats - Clinton, former Massachusets Sen. Paul Tsongas and former California Gov. Jerry Brown - have been avidly courting middle American voters in Illinois and Michigan, where analysts say a Clinton sweep in Tuesday's presidential primaries will virtually assure him of the Democratic nomination.

Voter surveys published Saturday by the Mason-Dixon polling firm showed Clinton with comfortable leads in the two key Midwestern states over Tsongas and Brown.

In Michigan, the poll showed Clinton with 48 percent of the Democratic vote to 22 percent for Tsongas and 11 percent for Brown with 19 percent of voters undecided.

In Illinois, a second poll showed Clinton with 46 percent, Tsongas with 25 percent and Brown with 14 percent with 15 percent.

A poll published in Sunday's Chicago Sun-Times also had good news for Clinton. The Gallup survey, conducted for the newspaper and Fox News, found Clinton with a 27-point lead over Tsongas, 48 percent to 21 percent, with Brown at 6 percent.

A similar Gallup poll just a week earlier gave Clinton only a five-point lead over Tsongas.

The new Sun-Times poll predicted that that Bush is likely to swamp Buchanan in Illinois Tuesday - 79 percent to 15 percent.

The Chicago Tribune said in its Sunday editions that either Tsongas or Clinton would run even with Bush if the election were held now. Illinois is considered a bellwether state in presidential politics, having voted on the losing side in general elections only twice in the last century.