Dan Quayle's Salvage Strategy

Oddly enough, it depends on being more like Walter Mondale

Dan Quayle visited four Central American countries last week, promoted his usual hard line against Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega Saavedra and Panama's Manuel Antonio Noriega, and admonished right-wingers in El Salvador to abjure human- rights abuses. That his efforts received routine news coverage delighted his staff.

Why the glee over this ordinary transaction? Because Quayle hardly qualifies as an ordinary Vice President. Since becoming George Bush's running mate, Quayle has had to whittle away at a monstrous burden: being tagged as Bush's first big mistake. That he avoided gaffes last week represented progress. That news stories concentrated on his message amounted to...

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