Campaign Diary: Quayle's ambition soars in a sinking campaign

THE 1992 campaign, while a death march for George Bush, has furthered his Vice-President's ambition to become President Quayle. The Vice-President's self-esteem had boomed since his finger-jabbing, name-calling performance in the vice-presidential debate last Tuesday (promoted by Republicans as the finest example of political oratory since Demosthenes).

Mr Quayle is telling all who will listen that he will run on a Conservative Opportunity and Traditional Values Agenda in 1996. He sees his debate performance as closing the door on four years of Quayle-bashing.

Is this the explanation of Mr Quayle's summary of the campaign yesterday? 'Except for the polls,' the Vice-President said, 'Everything is going well.'

SIGNS of a surge in voter interest and attention this year have been a serious blow to the Boring Party and its chairman, candidate and only member, Alan Caruba. Mr Caruba (Slogan: Bored in the USA] Elect Caruba) runs a Political In-action Committee that campaigns, among other things, to paint the White House brown.

This time he has outmanoeuvred even the reclusive Ross Rerot by failing to get himself on to any state ballot, campaigning only from his front room in New Jersey and making no public or television appearances.

'When Ross Perot got out and came back in again, I saw a trend and immediately climbed aboard,' Mr Caruba said yesterday in a rare interview. 'I decided to quit the race every Friday and come back in every Monday and have all my weekends free. That has been my steadfast policy ever since, with no visible effect on my levels of support.'

GEORGE BUSH may be down in the polls but all is not lost. By every traditional augury of US election results - from hemlines to baseball - the President will win on 3 November.

Falling hemlines, perhaps suggesting a more conservative national mood, almost always presage a Republican victory. They have fallen this year. Democrats usually win in years of a good Bordeaux vintage. It is terrible this time. The White House incumbent almost always wins when the stock market remains steady. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is ahead on the year.

Bill Clinton's only hope is that the Atlanta Braves, representatives of the National League, win the baseball World Series taking place this week. Democrats often win when the National League team beats the American League team. Ominously for Governor Clinton, the Toronto Blue Jays, standard bearers of the American League, won in Atlanta on Sunday to level the series.