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Quayle Gains in Confidence, Diverts Drive

Times Staff Writer

Though those around GOP vice presidential nominee Dan Quayle are wary of crowing out loud, his campaign shows a confidence that the election is all but won.

On Wednesday, Quayle began the final two-week march to the election by diverting a chunk of his schedule from his own campaign to another contest, the close and bitter Florida Senate race.

“George Bush needs Connie Mack in the Senate,” Quayle said in Tampa at a fund-raising breakfast for the Republican congressman, who is running against Democratic Rep. Buddy MacKay for the Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Lawton Chiles.

With victory appearing more likely, the Indiana senator is retreating further into the vague themes that have typified this year’s presidential campaign.

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Brings Upbeat Message

At Miami High School, which has experienced a serious drug problem and has the city’s worst dropout rate, Quayle concluded his remarks by saying: “We’ll let the sunshine come in and shine on us, because today we’re happy and tomorrow we’ll be even happier.”

To a rally in the city’s Little Havana section, Quayle summed up the Republican agenda this way: “We will invest in our people, quality education, job opportunity, family, neighborhood, and yes, a thing we call America.”

If Quayle’s message was fuzzy, it did not seem to bother the enthusiastic crowds that showed up to hear him. Even though it was clear that many Spanish-speaking supporters in Little Havana could not understand much of Quayle’s speech, they cheered with gusto in what appeared to be an early victory celebration.

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Holds Substantial Lead

Quayle devoted Wednesday to stops in media markets reaching more than half of Florida’s voters. Polls show the Bush-Quayle ticket holding a substantial lead in the state, but Quayle spokesman David Prosperi said the campaign believes it important to “give the state one more shot.”

“We don’t want to take anyone for granted. The last thing we need is complacency,” Prosperi added.

But Quayle demonstrated no such uncertainty in the Little Havana rally. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the next President of the United States is going to be George Bush,” he said.


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