Prospect of Democratic president and Congress 'scary,' Quayle says

October 07, 1992|By Paul West | Paul West,Washington Bureau Chief

WASHINGTON — LOS ANGELES -- Opening a new front in the Bush campaign's drive to block a Clinton victory next month, Vice President Dan Quayle warned yesterday of the "scary" prospect of allowing both Congress and the presidency to fall into Democratic hands.

All but conceding that Republicans will fail to gain control of Congress in next month's election, Mr. Quayle sketched a nightmarish scenario of runaway inflation, lost jobs and high interest rates if continued Democratic rule on Capitol Hill is coupled with a Democrat in the White House.

"You would no longer have a gridlock Congress, as we have today. You would have a runaway Congress and a rubber-stamp president," said Mr. Quayle, reversing an earlier position in which he urged one-party control of the government, even if that meant putting Democrats in charge.

With the president's low standing in the polls essentially unchanged since mid-July, the Bush campaign has stepped up its negative attacks on Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton in an increasingly desperate effort to frighten voters, however reluctantly, back to the president's side.

Arriving in Southern California late Monday night, Mr. Quayle accused Mr. Clinton of failing to "come clean" on a trip he made to the Soviet Union during a winter vacation 22 years ago.

Mr. Quayle said Mr. Clinton should "tell us why . . . at the height of the Vietnam War, he thought it was necessary to go to Moscow."

The vice president refused to dissociate himself from the claims of a right-wing Republican congressman from Southern California, Robert K. Dornan, who has suggested that Mr. Clinton was in contact with the KGB, the Soviet secret police, on that visit. Mr. Quayle would say only that he did "not know the circumstances" of Mr. Clinton's trip.

Mr. Clinton scoffed at the allegations Monday night, saying he visited the Soviet capital on one part of a 40-day European tour.

"I paid for my own trip. Nobody paid for it," he said on CNN's "Larry King Live" program. "I was just a student there, and as far as I know I didn't meet with the KGB."

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