Quayle Announces 2000 Bid

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WASHINGTON: Credit Larry King for not laughing. "I want to be president," declared Dan Quayle in an appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live." His platform? "I think I'm the best qualified." But can a man best known for his spelling errors really make a serious run at the GOP nomination in 2000? It may not help his case that Quayle's friends say a centerpiece of the former vice president's campaign would be a proposed 30 percent across-the-board tax rate reduction -- that's double the Hail Mary 15 percent that almost got Bob Dole laughed out of his 1996 bid.

Quayle says he'll prove his viability by rushing right out and raising $20 million, but TIME congressional correspondent John Dickerson says that's just one of Quayle's problems -- he should have started a long time ago: "Even with [Missouri conservative and religious-right fave] John Ashcroft having dropped out, the conservatives' field is already pretty crowded." Religious activist Gary Bauer has the inside track with true believers, and Steve Forbes -- although his recent conversion from flat-tax maven to values hawk hasn't convinced many -- already has Quayle's $20 million in petty cash, with plenty to spare. Quayle sees himself as serious competition for mainstreamers George W. Bush and Liddy Dole -- but most analysts envision him in a fight for table scraps with 1996 dropout Lamar Alexander. Well, at least Quayle's got name recognishin.