In a brief meeting with Republican Party leaders after his speech, Dan Quayle offered a campaign pep talk and told Davis County Republican Chairman Steve Smoot "I can really relate with Utahns and their values, particularly with their strong sense of family."
He said more than competency is at stake in the presidential race. "Ideology is just as important an issue," he told Smoot.The question on many people's minds since the surprise announcement Wednesday night that Quayle would visit Davis County was: Why Farmington?
"Hooper's booked this weekend," one GOP official quipped, referring to President Reagan's visit to Hooper several years ago.
"Farmington is a quaint community, in a spectacular setting," offered Smoot, a Farmington resident. "Besides, it's the most Republican county in the most Republican state, so it's safe."
State GOP chairman Craig Moody said the choice of sending Quayle to Farmington was made by the George Bush campaign organization because "it (Farmington) represents what conservative Republicans believe in."
Buses carrying Quayle and media representatives to Farmington were stopped in Bountiful by Mayor Dean S. Stahle wielding a crossing guard's stop sign.
When Quayle got out of the bus to talk to Stahle, the mayor said Quayle was standing in the most Republican city in the most Republican county in Utah - a state that voted the most Repubican in the last election.
It wasn't entirely the Republicans' show Friday, as local Democrats tried to steal some of Quayle's thunder by protesting the use of the Davis County courthouse for a campaign rally.
The Democrats carried signs bearing the slogans "Why are you canceling debates?" "Quayle does not turn me on," "Chicken Hawk" and "Draft Dodgers for Quayle."
Campaign signs at the Quayle appearance were used not only to support candidates, but also at times to block the signs of protesters and to ward off a brief rain shower that marked Quayle's arrival on the podium, more than an hour behind schedule.
Ella Anderson, Democratic candidate for Davis County Clerk, said the Republican commissioners were breaking state law by holding the rally at the courthouse.
"They were using extremely poor taste in using the courthouse. It looks as if the county is giving the endorsement to this candidate," she said. "It is in violation of Utah Code to hold a political rally at a taxpayers' facility during working hours. There are a lot of Democrats in this county. They are insulting our sensibility."
She said when the Kennedys came to Utah, they held a rally at Lagoon.
Jennifer Bryson, a Democrat from Kaysville carrying a sign reading "Not Just Another Pretty Face," said she objected to county employees being used to clean streets in the preparation for the rally.
"I don't want my tax dollars supporting this," she said.
For Connie Ranae Bentley, Quayle's arrival was a time for both sadness and celebration.
For hours before Quayle's motorcade pulled up to the Davis County Courthouse, she was peddling her old-fashioned hamburgers as "Quayle Burgers" inside Renae's Cafe across from the courthouse. But amid the hoopla there was grief.
"We buried my son yesterday," she said. Her son, David, was killed in traffic accident over the weekend.
David would have liked the celebrating, she said.
She said she had planned not to open this week, but the county commissioners called and told her about Quayle's plans. Her family rallied and opened up to serve the crowd that arrived to see him.
At $1.45, the Quayle Burgers were a hit. Her husband Richard said he only found out about the Quayle visit yesterday, and sold out of most everything in the small kitchen.
Next door to Renae's Cafe, young entrepreneur Jonathan Wright was making money selling "George Bushes." The small bushes are mounted on small pieces of wood with the inscription "George." Across the street, Farmington Scout Troop 283 was selling hot dogs.
A Roy woman, Pam Snyder LaRue, who was singled out by Quayle two weeks ago in his acceptance speech at the GOP convention in New Orleans, was seated with dignitaries on the speaker's podium in Farmington Friday.
LaRue, described by Quayle as a divorcee and a single mother on welfare, participated in Quayle's Job Partnership Training Act program, learned accounting, landed a job and is now off welfare.
Her life hasn't been the same since Quayle talked about her in his convention speech, she said, telling Deseret News reporters how local and national media besieged her and wanted to recount her story.
LaRue met Quayle for the first time Friday and afterward said, "I like him. He's a nice person. He's a real human being."
As for being a media celebrity, LaRue said, it has some drawbacks and she'd just as soon go back to being a mother - and a wife. She married a month ago, on July 24. "Now the whole state will celebrate our anniversary every year. With fireworks," LaRue said.