Among the few concrete promises that GOP vice presidential nominee Dan Quayle has offered at campaign stops the past week is this one: If George Bush is elected President, anyone who wants a college education will “have that opportunity.”
At a time when many college students are being squeezed between a more restrictive federal student loan program and higher tuition costs, the line has quickly become one of his most effective devices for detonating applause.
But when Quayle was asked Thursday by reporters to explain how a Bush Administration would make good on the promise of an affordable college education for everyone, he said he was not sure.
While Bush has vowed to become known as the “education President,” Quayle’s guarantee goes far beyond anything the vice president himself has offered.
“I haven’t sat down and talked with George Bush on this, so I can’t go in and tell you how we’re going to do it,” Quayle said, adding that his discussions with Bush of education issues had been “in general terms.”
The Indiana senator quickly added: “We’re going to make sure that a student who wants to go on to higher education has that opportunity.”
In his speeches, Quayle also has promised “a job for every American who wants a job by the mid-1990s,” and has spoken of “the opportunity to lay a foundation for a century of peace.”
Stumping Thursday in North Carolina, New Jersey and New York, Quayle praised the Reagan Administration’s economic record and warned that Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis would endanger economic growth with a tax increase if elected.
“Ronald Reagan and George Bush saved America from economic decline, and we don’t dare risk putting our nation in the hands of those whose policies created the mess,” Quayle told a rally at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Speaks to AT&T; Employees
In Bedminster, N.J., Quayle spoke over closed-circuit television to thousands of AT&T; employees throughout the state. He warned: “We have developed 18 million new jobs in the last six years, but that mighty engine must not falter.”
He also appeared at a Morristown airport rally with New Jersey senatorial candidate Pete Dawkins, whom he described as “a great partner for George Bush and me to lead this country forward.”
Thursday’s campaign schedule was interrupted when a bus in Quayle’s motorcade collided with a high school van carrying three teen-agers. The candidate, who was riding in a car that was not involved in the accident, later visited the three and their driver at Morristown Memorial Hospital. The victims were being treated for cuts and bruises, and Quayle said that none appeared to have suffered more serious injuries.
No one on the campaign bus appeared to have been badly hurt. Quayle’s 66-year-old mother, Corinne, told reporters that passengers on the bus “bumped our knees a bit.”
The rest of his day was not much smoother. Arriving here for a rally, Quayle was subjected to some of the worst heckling of his campaign. Dukakis supporters, shouting such slogans as “no more lies,” repeatedly interrupted his standard stump speech.
Quayle, however, has learned to use such episodes to his advantage. Cheers from his supporters drowned out the protesters after Quayle retorted: “I don’t blame the Dukakis supporters for yelling. If I had to support Michael Dukakis, I’d yell too.”