Vice President George Bush declared his full support Saturday for running mate Dan Quayle and contended the furor over his service in the National Guard was a "tempest in a teapot" that was now over.
In his first substantive comments on the controversy, the Republican presidential nominee likened it to a "feeding flurry" and argued that he had studied Quayle's "whole record. There is nothing dishonorable."With Quayle standing by his side at the Ohio State Fair, Bush contended the issue would not become a further campaign problem.
"The American people are less interested in perception than in reality," Bush said, adding that "Dan Quayle served with honor" in the National Guard. "I think it will turn out to be a tempest in a teapot, and it is behind us," Bush said.
The controversy over Quayle's service in the National Guard has plagued the campaign for several days, as questions have persisted about whether the conservative, 41-year-old junior senator from Indiana had received special help to enter the Guard in 1969 and avoid combat in Vietnam.
Quayle repeated his contention that the flap was overblown and argued Saturday that he had no reason to be ashamed of his service.
"I'm very proud of my service in the National Guard," Quayle said.
Bush said that despite the controversy, which has drawn nearly all of the attention, his campaign was on target. "Except for the flurry, except for the frenzy, it has gone great."
Earlier, Bush took his message of "peace and jobs" to West Carrollton, Ohio, preaching traditional American values to a flag-waving rally.
Trying to paint himself as the candidate most committed to the values of "patriotism, decency and hope," he said his "real mission as president is to keep those values strong."
Bush also took some shots at Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis, asserting that the Massachusetts governor was too inexperienced.
"Do you want to risk America's security by taking down our defenses and turning the ship of state over to a captain who never sailed a ship this big before?" Bush asked the crowd in West Carrollton.