Even as the House banking scandal tainted President Bush's Cabinet, Vice President Dan Quayle insisted Tuesday that the "one-party rule" of the Democratic leadership in Congress bears full responsibility for the fiasco.
Quayle said the scandal is caused by the "arrogance of power" that Democrats have developed during their nearly 40 years of control in the House.
"The Democratic leadership is out of touch with reality," Quayle said at a press conference on the tarmac at El Toro Marine Corp Air Station. "They will not pass the President's job package, they will not pass the legal reform bill. . . . The only thing they're passing these days is bad checks."
Since Congress voted last week to identify the 355 current and former members who are responsible for overdrafts on their House bank accounts, Washington has been rocked by the scandal dubbed "Rubbergate."
Tuesday, the list of those coming forward to confess their own past banking problems grew to include three Cabinet members--Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, Agriculture Secretary Edward Madigan and Labor Secretary Lynn Martin.
But Quayle refused to discuss the Cabinet members Tuesday, saying instead that he was going to be "Johnny One Note" in pointing the finger of blame at the Democrats.
"This scandal is on their doorstep," he said, standing next to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), who has acknowledged writing at least eight checks for which he didn't have sufficient funds on his House bank account. "Republicans and Democrats are on the list, but what I'm talking about is who is responsible for what happened."
Quayle's two-day trip to Southern California continues today with a visit to the Little Saigon community of Westminster. The vice president said he will tell his audience at the Hao Binh Shopping Center about "the American dream, values and family."
Quayle's visit could be controversial. Some members of the city's Vietnamese community say they will protest the Administration's recent decision to recommend that thousands of Vietnamese refugees throughout Southeast Asia go home. Refugee-rights activists criticized the policy out of concern that some political refugees could face persecution if they return.
The vice president's day began in San Diego, where he told more than 3,000 sailors aboard the aircraft carrier Ranger that "the world is still a dangerous place and America must maintain its strength."
After his arrival in Orange County, Quayle stopped by an Irvine high school baseball practice and pitched half a dozen balls to a batter who knocked two into the outfield.
Tuesday evening, Quayle met with Orange County supporters for U.S. Sen. John Seymour, who are planning a fund-raiser next week with First Lady Barbara Bush. He also had dinner with a handful of local Republican business leaders to discuss domestic issues in the President's reelection campaign.
At the press conference, Quayle also said the President's twin victories Tuesday in the Illinois and Michigan primaries had essentially ended the Republican contest for the nomination. But he said he expected that Pat Buchanan would stay in the race through the California primary in June.
"There's no doubt in anybody's mind that the President will be the nominee," he said. But, he said: "I don't anticipate a graceful exit by Pat Buchanan; that's not his style. But whether he stays or whether he withdraws . . . it's not going to make any difference."