Vice President George Bush has been getting a lot of publicity lately, and much of it is well deserved. I saw him at a coming-out party of a corn husker's debutante daughter in Iowa, and he was telling us why the people in Iowa didn't vote for him in a straw poll.
"The farmers were all playing polo," he said. "And those that weren't playing polo were big-game hunting in Africa. Nobody stayed home to vote for me."
It sounded plausible. "Do you know the girl who is making her debut here in Iowa?"
"No," the vice president said, "but I met a Polish mechanic on my trip to Eastern Europe and he told me his niece was coming out here, so naturally I said I would go. That mechanic would put any Detroit worker to shame. We ought to bring over thousands of them to get our auto industry on its feet again."
"Haveyou ever been to a coming-out party in Iowa, Mr. Vice President?"
"No, but I've seen a lot of them in West Virginia. A coming-out party is as American as apple pie. We probably wouldn't have white ties if it weren't for the balls. I'm curious to find out if Iowa does it the way we do back home."
"I heard that after the girl dances with her father she throws herself on a fiery haystack to prove she's ready to be dated."
"That's different from the way we do it," the veep said. "The girls back home don't have to do anything more than curtsy to announce they are coming out in society. Are there any other questions?"
"Mr. Vice President, you said on the 'Larry King Show' the other night that the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was fighting Judge Bork's nomination. Did you misspeak?"
"Yes, and when I found out I did I issued a retraction saying I was pleased to hear that the group did not oppose Judge Bork. I feel that straightened out the matter quite well."
"They thought your apology was as bad as your original statement. You made it look as if they were supporting Judge Bork."
"Are you calling me a wimp?"
"Because if you are, here is my war record. I am not a wimp. If I were I wouldn't be attending a corn husker's daughter's coming-out party when I could be fox hunting in Virginia."
"Mr. Vice President, you are not doing so well in the polls. Rumor has it you're trying to get President Reagan off your back."
"That's a damn lie. The thing I believe the most in is loyalty. President Reagan has made mistakes -- we all do, but they are his mistakes and nobody else's. I would like to get the record clear right now that I was out of town when the errors were made and by the time I got back it was too late for me to do anything about them. I'm not one of those vice presidents who say these are the president's mistakes and these are mine -- because I didn't make any. But that doesn't say I'll turn my back on the president even if he refuses to back me for the nomination after all I have done for him in the last seven years."
"Why is the Rev. Robertson doing so much better in the polls than you?"
"Because he's using prayer as a political issue."
"What are you using as a political issue?"
"That won't even get you the white-tie vote in Poland."