Campaign 2000 heated up over the weekend when George W. Bush, the favorite for the GOP nomination, vowed to stay in the race and got some support from his dad.
But former Dan Quayle, who served four years as vice president under Bush's dad, told CBS This Morning Co-Anchor Thalia Assuras Monday that voters shouldn't count him out.
Thalia Assuras: A lot of people are saying that George W. Bush is the shoo-in.
Dan Quayle: We'll beat him in New Hampshire and Iowa. We hope to be able to get this debate going. This is what the Republicans need, a debate. You look at the leadership in the Congress right now, and they're just going along with Bill Clinton. If you're just going to go along with him, then the Democrats will win. I want to talk about tax cuts and choice in education and about a missile defense system. I want to talk about making government more efficient. So we'll have a good, honest debate out there on the campaign trail. Believe me, this is not going to be inherited or a coronation.
Assuras: You're making some comments on your campaign that you're going to be kind of the anti-establishment guy, the grass-roots fighter. You are the former vice president. How is that grass roots?
Quayle: I'm a former United States senator, too. When I was in power, I was always fighting the status quo. I was a reformer. I came up through the conservative wing of the Republican party and identified with ordinary Americans rather than the elite. I will be taking an anti-establishment style. I will be working with the people out there that have to work hard to make ends meet and identify with the farmers, the shopkeepers, the older citizens, those that are left behind. That's my kind of campaign. I enjoy it. It is grass roots, it is people to people. I'll be on their side. I'm on the side of the ordinary American and not the establishment.
Assuras: Will you stay on the very conservative side? George W. Bush talks about compassionate conservatism.
Quayle: Look, who's helping the homeless and working with the poor? Go to any volunteer organization and faith-based organization that is helping the poor. You find conservatives. By the definition, they are compassionate. You want to put the two words together for a sound bite, that's fine with me. Do not say conservatives are not compassionate. We are. We always have been.
Assuras: Al Gore will be the Democratic candidate. Is he the one that you would like to run against if you end up being the Republican candidate?
Quayle: Absolutely. I had one debate with Al Gore in 1992. We did rather well in that debate. I rather enjoyed that debate down in Atlanta. When I am the nominee, I think I will be, I look forward to a couple more debates with him. We will be talking about the Clinton administration and I'll be bringing up questions and comment about the arrogance that's in the White House and the cynicism that Bill Clinton and Al Gore have created throughout America. I have never seen so much cynicism. They've trashed the White House.
Assuras: Let me ask you, will this be a down and dirty kind of campaign or will things change?
Quayle: Absolutely not. It will be upbeat and I'll stick to the issues. I believe in the 11th commandment. Let me be clear when I say that, not to speak ill of fellow Republicans. We will have a vigorous debate on the issues and on tax cuts and competition in education and missile defense systems and my agenda. I hope the other candidates agree with me. It will be a vigorous tough debate on the issues.