Vice President Dan Quayle called Tuesday for continued investment in the nation's defense forces as he made a brief stop in San Diego and talked to more than 3,000 sailors aboard the aircraft carrier Ranger.
"Many are saying it is time to take the meat ax to our national security, and they are wrong," Quayle said aboard the ship, docked at North Island Naval Air Station. "Even though the Cold War is beyond us and even though the Soviet Union has changed and even though we have made great progress toward nuclear disarmament, the world is still a dangerous place, and America must maintain its strength."
The vice president called for continued military investment after discussing proposed reductions throughout the armed services by President Bush. Quayle said the "modest" reductions will lead to a "leaner, more mobile and more flexible force," which will still be prepared to deal with regional conflicts like the Persian Gulf War.
"Now that the threat of superpower conflict has disappeared, there are those who say that we can afford to ignore the rest of the world. They tell us America has no global responsibilities and no need to be concerned about national security," Quayle said. "Well, let me just say to them they are wrong. They are the ones who advocate neo-isolationism."
Quayle also took advantage of the occasion to praise the Ranger's crew for its role in Operation Desert Storm.
In a later interview with the media Quayle assailed the Democratic congressional leaders for their role in the check-overdraft scandal that has rocked Capital Hill.
However, the vice president failed to make mention of the revelations Tuesday that three members of Bush's Cabinet, including Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, had acknowledged writing bad checks while members of the House of Representatives.
"I hope the people remember who has controlled the Congress for 40 years. It has been the Democrats, and this national scandal is on their doorstep," Quayle said. "I blame the Democratic leadership for running a terrible Congress. . . . it is a disgrace, and it shows when you have one party controlling the Congress for that long that this type of thing is going to happen."
The vice president's next stop was Orange County.
Earlier in the morning, Quayle was the guest of honor at a GOP fund-raiser breakfast, and he attended an hourlong round-table discussion with executives from San Diego's biomedical industry.
Local biotechnology and biomedical company executives pressed Quayle to support a cut in capital gains taxes, a step that many in industry believe would stimulate investment in new technology.
"The amount of venture capital available to the biomedical industry has decreased from over $4 billion in 1987 to about $1 billion in 1992," said David Hale, president of the San Diego Biomedical Industry Council, which represents about 40 local biomedical firms.
"Venture capital is critical for the growth of our industry," said Hale, who is also chairman and chief executive officer of Gensia, one of San Diego's leading biomedical companies.