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  •   Quayle: Clinton Has Eroded U.S. Standing

    Dan Quayle
    Former Vice President Dan Quayle speaks to a full house at The Heritage Foundation. (Dudley M. Brooks — The Post)
    By Dan Balz
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, January 13, 1999; Page A3

    Former vice president Dan Quayle, gearing up for a presidential campaign, yesterday accused the Clinton administration of squandering the foreign policy legacy inherited from the Republicans and asserted that there is a belief around the world that the United States has "lost the will and our credibility to lead."

    Quayle's speech came as other prospective presidential candidates took steps toward running in 2000:

    Former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley (D), who formed an exploratory committee last month, formally established a presidential campaign committee yesterday. He is the first Democrat to challenge Vice President Gore for the Democratic nomination in 2000.

    Rep. John R. Kasich (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Budget Committee, will file papers this morning at the Federal Election Commission establishing his presidential exploratory committee, a close adviser said yesterday. Kasich, part of a growing field of GOP candidates, will unveil the committee at a Feb. 15 fund-raiser in Ohio.

    Gary Bauer said he would take a leave of absence from the Family Research Council this week to make a decision about whether to run for the GOP nomination in 2000. Bauer said he would announce his plans later this month.

    Quayle advisers said he anticipates forming a presidential exploratory committee in the near future, with a final announcement about his candidacy coming later in the spring. But Quayle told an audience at the Heritage Foundation that was dotted with veterans of the Reagan and Bush administrations, "In the year 2000, no presidential candidate should be taken seriously unless he or she understands the importance of foreign policy."

    Quayle flayed the Clinton administration for failing to make antiterrorism a top priority, for being lax on pushing ahead with a missile defense system and for allowing cuts in military spending to deplete the armed forces. He said it was time to restore "credible and moral leadership to the White House."

    "We've had six years of misplaced priorities, complacency, cynicism and slick salesmanship," Quayle said. "I say no more hollow military, no more hollow promises, no more hollow policies and no more on-the-job training."

    He called President Clinton's conduct during the president's trip to China last year "absolutely disgraceful." Quayle said agents of the Chinese army, through campaign contributions to the Democratic Party, had gained "access to the Oval Office" and influenced foreign policy decisions that had given the Chinese advanced U.S. technology.

    On impeachment, Quayle, who earlier called for Clinton to resign, continued to take a hard line. He called perjury "a serious crime" and said a president who commits a serious crime "should be removed from office."

    Warning of the growing threat to the United States of ballistic missile proliferation in countries such as North Korea and Iran, Quayle called for pulling out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) and pushing ahead with missile defense, envisioning a space-based system as the long-term solution.

    Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, Clinton's national security adviser, said in a speech yesterday that the administration in its new budget would ask for $7 billion over the next six years that could be used to deploy a limited missile defense system, if such a decision occurs. Berger said the United States would seek agreement with treaty partners to modify the ABM treaty to allow such a system.

    Quayle said that would give Russia veto power over the decision and warned the public to be skeptical about Clinton's commitment to missile defense. "The current administration shows more fidelity to a piece of paper [the ABM treaty] signed by a state that no longer exists [the Soviet Union] than to our own Constitution," he said.

    Citing a series of terrorist attacks against U.S. targets here and abroad in recent years, Quayle said he was "truly dismayed" by the lack of attention paid to the issue by the administration.

    "Bill Clinton and Al Gore, they hyperventilate over the theory -- the theory -- of global warming," Quayle said. "Wouldn't it be nice if they spent half as much attention to the reality of global terrorism?"

    Quayle said Clinton's coming proposal for the first increase in defense spending in his presidency was a sign the administration recognized that the armed forces are overextended and underpaid. But he called Clinton's budgetary move "defensive politics" rather than a sensible defense policy.

    Staff writers Ceci Connolly and Terry M. Neal contributed to this report.

    © Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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