Bartlett ready to help presidential hopeful Dan Quayle

September 02, 1999|By BRENDAN KIRBY

While U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., campaigns for his re-election to Congress, he also will be stumping for another candidate: presidential hopeful Dan Quayle.

Bartlett signed up last month to be the former vice president's Maryland campaign chairman.

"What Dan Quayle stands for is what I stand for," Bartlett said.

Bartlett said Quayle sold him in 1992 with his famous "Murphy Brown" speech, in which he criticized Hollywood's portrayal of family values.

"Now, even the media's admitted maybe Dan Quayle was right," he said.

Bartlett acknowledged that the front-runner, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, is "very attractive. He's very smooth."

But Bartlett said Bush "hasn't articulated the issues."

While Quayle lags badly in most major polls, Bartlett said it is too early to write him off. He recalled hearing in 1987 about a governor he had never heard of who planned to run for president. His name was Bill Clinton.


"I thought that must be a joke," he said. "He's been president for eight years now."

Bartlett said he is working to build a campaign organization across the state for Quayle.

Hagerstown businesswoman Victoria Nelson has signed on to run the Quayle 2000 campaign in Washington County.

"I think he's the most qualified by far. And his standards are far above everyone else's," Nelson said.

Nelson said she will coordinate the placement of Quayle signs in the county and plans to represent the former vice president at political events.

Nelson said the biggest challenge facing the campaign in the early stages is gaining enough momentum to pull away from the pack now chasing Bush. The danger is that Quayle becomes lost in the pack and no candidate emerges as the consensus alternative.

"There can be a big pile of stew," she said.

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