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Bush asks: 'Who do you trust?' President accepts GOP renomination with recycled ideas

August 21, 1992|By Paul West | Paul West,Washington Bureau Chief

In a response to the Bush remarks, Mr. Clinton drew attention to the unkept pledges from the president's 1988 acceptance speech.

"He promised 15 million new jobs, no new taxes, the environmental president, an education presidency," Mr. Clinton said in Michigan. "Now we don't have to read his lips. We can read his record."

The combative tone of the closing convention session was set by Mr. Quayle, who cast this fall's election as a struggle across the "cultural divide" separating Democrats and Republicans.

"It is a difference between fighting for what is right and refusing to see what is wrong," the vice president said.

Mr. Quayle is attempting to overhaul his public image after four years as the butt of numerous jokes. He described himself last night as "stronger" and "more confident" than he was in 1988, striking a note of proud defiance as he accepted renomination.

"I know my critics wish I were not standing here tonight," he told the delegates. "I stand before you, and before the American people, unbowed, unbroken and ready to keep fighting for our beliefs."

Mr. Quayle joined eagerly in the evening's Congress-bashing, stealing the most famous line from Sen. Al Gore's vice presidential acceptance speech at last month's Democratic convention and turning it against the other party.

"It is time for them to go," he said of Democrats who control Capitol Hill. "If the Democrats in Congress can't run their own restaurant, can't run their own post office and can't run their own bank, they sure can't be trusted to run our country.

"There is only one thing to say about the spend-everything, block-everything, know-nothing Democratic Congress. It is time for them to go," he said, as the delegates shouted "no more Gore."

He jabbed hard at the Clinton-Gore ticket -- calling them tools of the education lobby, the media elite and the Hollywood crowd -- and poked fun at himself in the process.

"If they're moderates, I'm a world champion speller," Mr. Quayle said, repeating a line he has used often in campaign speeches since misspelling the word "potato" at a school spelling bee in New Jersey. The partisan crowd roared with good-natured glee.

Earlier, former President Gerald R. Ford became one of the few convention speakers to point out Mr. Bush's lagging popularity.

"From what you read and watch in the news media, from all you see in the opinion polls, and hear from the Democrats, the Bush presidency is finished, done, kaput, the ball game's over," he said, adding: "I do not believe it. You don't believe it."

Mr. Ford also picked up the convention theme that Americans who want change in Washington should replace the Democrats in Congress, rather than the Republican in the White House. Recent polls show that nine out of every 10 Americans say they want change but fewer than one in six believes that Mr. Bush can provide it.

He also recalled his own comeback from a 33-point deficit in the polls during the 1976 campaign against Jimmy Carter, the last Southern governor to run for president before Mr. Clinton.

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