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Wednesday, April 14, 1999 Published at 21:23 GMT 22:23 UK

World: Americas

Dan Quayle launches 2001 bid

Dan Quayle: Gassroots support but will they forget the "potato factor"

Former United States Vice President Dan Quayle has launched his campaign for the 2001 presidency with a pledge to restore integrity and responsibility to the White House.

Rob Watson in Washington: Dan Quayle has been remaking his image
He called the 1990s "the dishonest decade of Bill Clinton and Al Gore".

Mr Quayle attacked Vice President Al Gore's defence of President Clinton during the impeachment saga, accusing both politicians of showing "contempt for the values parents try to teach their children."

"The time has come to reset the moral compass," Mr Quayle told a 5,000-strong crowd at Huntington North High, his former school.

"Prosperity without values is no prosperity at all," he added, using only a few notes as he made the presidential announcement speech.

His speech was accompanied by fireworks, rock music and shouts of "Q2K" from the crowd.

Tax and foreign policy

In the speech, Dan Quayle promoted his proposed 30% across-the-board tax cut, targeted at middle-income families.

He also portrayed himself as the best-qualified potential commander-in-chief, recalling his participation in White House war councils and his service on foreign policy committees.

"You don't learn foreign policy from briefing books or crash courses," Mr Quayle said.

"Potato" slip-up

Dan Quayle is making his first bid for elective office since President Clinton beat the Bush-Quayle ticket six years ago.

He enjoys significant popularity among grassroots Republican Party activists.

But his bid joins those of several conservative candidates, and all will be fighting for the same votes.

He may also be held back by a shortage of funds, with a $1 million shortfall in projected electioneering costs.

But Mr Quayle's largest obstacle is what one supporter calls the "potato factor" - a reference to when he mis-spelled the word in front of school children, prompting the US media and comedians to make him the butt of countless jokes.

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