Vice President Dan Quayle brushed aside doubts renewed by President Bush's irregular heartbeat about his qualifications to become president, saying ridicule comes with the No. 2 job.

"There hasn't been a vice president in history that hasn't been subjected to ridicule, criticism and things like that," Quayle said. "As the president said, and as I've said many times, it goes with the territory."Quayle was in Detroit to meet with business leaders and representatives of the Big Three automakers in preparation for a May 19 trip to Japan to seek more access to Japanese markets.

Asked about a CBS-New York Times poll taken since Bush suffered atrial fibrillation last weekend showing 62 percent concerned about his presidential capabilities, Quayle said: "This past weekend has been a challenge, as all weeks are."

"I do the job, like I did today," he said. "I did the job as vice president."

On this day, that involved his role as chairman of the President's Competitiveness Council. He visited a small Christian school, toured a large supplier of automated welding and assembly systems, had lunch with top executives of area firms and met privately with Big Three representatives.

The auto industry, concerned about a bill by Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., to require fuel efficiency of 40 miles per gallon by the year 2000, heard encouraging words - "the administration's clear-cut position is that we're not interested."