On the trail with Quayle
By Bruce Morton/CNN
July 28, 1999
Web posted at: 6:29 p.m. EDT (2229 GMT)
LE MARS, Iowa (July 28) -- In the two-and-a-half weeks to go before the Iowa GOP straw poll, Republican presidential candidates are taking different approaches to a high-profile event before the all-important state caucuses in 2000.
Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the prospective front-runner in polls, is taking most of the two weeks off for a scheduled family vacation. In contrast, former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander and multimillionaire publisher Steve Forbes will be conducting bus tours of the Hawkeye State.
And former Vice President Dan Quayle has squeezed seven towns in a two-day tour to improve his chances in the straw poll, which is being held by the Iowa Republican Party.
In small towns across northwestern Iowa, where the bank thermometer sometimes shows not just the time, but the thirty-year low prices for corn and soybeans, Quayle is telling farmers, "I'm for you."
"I can tell you, you elect me president of the United States and I'll fight for the farmer," he said.
The problem is deflation with the price of crops and price of land falling, he says. But in a populist, Pat Buchanan-like attack, Quayle says "that crowd in Washington," like Congress and Federal Reserve Bank chairman Alan Greenspan, doesn't care about the family farmer.
"They don't care about the farmer, they don't care about the family farmer, they don't care about rural America," he said. "All they care about is the big banks and making sure that those folks are taken care of."
Quayle's remedy is a large tax cut, bigger than the $792 billion tax cut passed by the House last week.
"You take my 30 percent across-the-board tax cut and it would mean a policeman married to a school teacher, a $6,000 cut," he said.
Quayle also stresses family values and attacks President Bill Clinton for lowering the tone of the presidency.
"Bill Clinton has taken the value of integrity and just trashed it. We've got to return honor and decency and respect to the White House," he said. "Bill Clinton has done more damage to the White House than anyone since the British burned it in 1812."
Quayle cites his experience and says he has the second best chance after Texas Gov, George Bush to be the nominee. But unlike the cash-rich Bush, his last financial report shows a campaign $500,000 in debt but he says he has enough money for Iowa and New Hampshire.
"Money is a factor. It's not the only thing but you do have to have enough money to get your message out. Fortunately for me, someone who does not have as much money nor will raise as much money as George Bush, in Iowa there is a spending cap of $1.2 million," he said.
And what about the old Dan Quale image? The press criticism, the man who misspelled "potato?" Quayle says he doesn't hear much about that any more.
"The media put me a big hole but we're doing very well," he said. "As a matter of fact, the media treatment has been very fair this time around."