Vice President Dan Quayle is considering buying a home in Southern California, according to an adviser, a move that could have political ramifications should he decide to seek the presidency in the 1990s.
Quayle spent four days in the state earlier this week, giving speeches and touring aerospace facilities.
"The Quayles own no home outside Washington and in their first extended visit to California this week, they thoroughly enjoyed the state--in fact, they fell in love with it," Quayle press secretary David Beckwith said Thursday in a telephone interview from Washington.
"The vice president and Mrs. Quayle think California would be a delightful place to have a second home or retreat," Beckwith said.
There has been no house hunting so far, he said, but there may be in late August when Quayle returns to tour the Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Pasadena.
Quayle has long been a part of the Republican Party's conservative wing, so Orange County or northern San Diego County would seem likely prospects for a Quayle home.
But Beckwith said only that the Quayles are interested in Southern California, and California Republican political strategist Kenneth L. Khachigian cautioned against reading too much into a Quayle move to California.
"He's simply talking about a vacation home," Khachigian said. "The vice president is very worried about the impact of his job on his family and one way to keep everybody together is to find a place where they can do things together. California is perfect because the Quayles are a very active, recreation-oriented family. I'm not even sure he's talking about buying; he may just want to rent a place."
Beckwith said the Quayles own no real estate in their home state of Indiana. They live in the official vice president's residence in Washington and next month will rent out their home in suburban McLean, Va.
Some Republican political sources have speculated that if Quayle wants to succeed President Bush in eight years, he would do well to find a better home base than Indiana, which has only 12 electoral votes.
California, which like Indiana usually votes Republican in presidential races, has 47 electoral votes and could have as many as 53 after the 1990 census.
On another matter involving the vice president's California trip, Quayle's staff was busy Thursday trying to reassure anti-abortion leaders that comments in Los Angeles by the vice president did not mean he has softened his staunch opposition to abortion.
In a meeting with reporters Monday, Quayle said the anti-abortion forces should concentrate on getting restrictions on abortion, not on an outright ban, now that the Supreme Court has given states more power in the matter.
But in a meeting with Times editors and reporters, Quayle said in response to a question: "No, I haven't shifted my position. I still think the Roe decision (legalizing abortion in 1973) was wrong."