The cloudless skies and mid-70s temperatures Monday were perfect for campaigning, and Vice President Dan Quayle made the best of it in Greensboro even though Sen. Jesse Helms was 300 miles away.
During his two hours and 40 minutes in Greensboro, Quayle was the featured guest at a high-dollar Irving Park fund-raiser for Helms, shook hands with a couple dozen gawking residents who lined the street beside the Greensboro Country Club, checked on the afternoon bowling leagues at the Brunswick Triad Lanes on Wendover Avenue and had a briefing on the Persian Gulf situation from Fort Bragg's acting commander.The only Republican elected official to greet Quayle was Gov. Jim Martin, who cannot seek a third term. Also meeting Quayle at Piedmont Triad International Airport were Gene Johnston, a former GOP congressman from Greensboro; Don Hughes, Burlington Industries vice president; Ed Morris, former Blue Bell chief executive; and Alan Pugh, an assistant to the governor.
Quayle said he made the offer to stop in North Carolina to help Helms' re-election effort. The $6,000 to $7,000 cost of the visit will be charged to the Helms campaign. Quayle made earlier campaign stops in Columbia and Greenville, S.C.
Helms stayed behind in Washington, his office said, for Senate business.
During a 15-minute roundtable discussion with reporters in Greensboro, Quayle repeated President Bush's opposition to the pending textile import bill, which Helms has pressed the administration to support both for political and economic reasons.
Quayle labeled the bill, backed by North Carolina's textile and apparel industry, ``protectionist' and indicated that Bush would likely veto it.
Helms has said he thinks President Reagan's veto of similar legislation in 1986 helped lead to Republican Jim Broyhill's loss to Democrat Terry Sanford in the U.S. Senate race.
``Senator Helms has expressed those concerns and many, many more about the textile legislation,' Quayle said. ``He has pestered me. He pesters the president. This is something, that as it stands right now, we're just not in agreement.'
Quayle joined about 100 people at a pool-side fund-raiser at the home of Katherine and Gene DeMatteo, 700 Country Club Drive.
About 25 people gave $1,000 for the opportunity to have their picture taken with the vice president. Others paid $250 each to nibble finger sandwiches, pasta salad, fresh fruit, ham biscuits, shrimp, cheese cake topped with mandarin oranges and brownies and to sip iced tea or champagne.
In brief remarks at the DeMatteos' home, named ``Twin Oaks,' Quayle made a pitch to re-elect Helms to his fourth Senate term.
``He's needed in Washington to keep them honest,' Quayle said. ``He is known for being outspoken and we appreciate that, even though from time to time he disagrees with President George Bush. He's doing what he thinks is right.'
Quayle also pressed support for David Souter, Bush's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. He said Souter is qualified and deserves the appointment despite opposition from some groups - particularly those advocating protection of the current legal status of abortion.
``We need to reject special-interest politics,' Quayle said. ``There is no reason to put Judge Souter through a special-interest inquisition.'
As the vice president was leaving the DeMatteo home, he stopped briefly to talk to about 20 spectators waiting for a glimpse.
About a block away, within view of Quayle's motorcade, was a pickup truck with a banner reading ``Dump Helms.'
Quayle's ride back to the airport was interrupted by a visit to Brunswick Triad Lanes and a talk with afternoon bowlers. Scheduled ``impromptu' stops have become a trademark of Quayle's trips.
During a 13-minute visit Quayle walked down lanes, avoiding politics and talking mostly about bowling.
``What's your average,' he asked Addie Lamb.
``123,' she responded.
``You are in my league then. When I throw the ball down the lane it usually splits off,' he said pointing to the gutter.
``I've never bowled 200 in my life,' Quayle told another woman.
He didn't roll a ball down the lanes, but he did get Nan Walker to take a turn for him. She left two pins standing.
Back at the airport, Quayle received a briefing on the Persian Gulf from Maj. Gen. William Roosma, acting 18th Airborne Corps Commander at Fort Bragg, and Col. Nick Williams, acting wing commander for the 317th Tactical Airlift Wing at Pope Air Force Base.
Quayle didn't provide any details from the meeting.
``From the briefing that I got and the questions that I asked them ... they (U.S. troops) are not only prepared but willing and able to meet the objectives of President Bush,' he said.