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Federal File: Memories; Reversal

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In Standing Firm, his recently published political memoirs, former Vice President Dan Quayle calls former Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander "good,'' speaks fondly of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, and fails to mention former Secretary Lauro F. Cavazos at all.

Over all, the 387-page book, a history of Mr. Quayle's four-year tenure in the White House, says relatively little about education or domestic policy.

In fact, Mr. Quayle writes that President Bush "knew his chances for pushing bold domestic initiatives were limited'' because Congress did not like his ideas.

School choice was the "heart'' of Mr. Bush's education agenda, "but we never pushed it hard enough,'' Mr. Quayle says.

The former Vice President, who is contemplating a bid for the Presidency, says he recalls Richard Darman, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, "flirting with the idea of a Domestic Desert Storm'' and others in the administration floating domestic strategies. But, he adds, they "never amounted to very much.''

Mr. Quayle notes that former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett, in his role as Mr. Bush's "drug czar,'' "got caught up in turf wars,'' such as one that erupted when he suggested that American troops be sent to Peru to attack drug producers.

The former veep calls Sen. James M. Jeffords, R-Vt., a prominent education advocate who suggested publicly that Mr. Quayle remove himself from the G.O.P. ticket before the 1992 election, a "wobbly sort of Republican.''

He has kinder words for Mr. Kennedy, who co-sponsored the Job Training Partnership Act with Mr. Quayle when the Hoosier was a senator. The author says he "remain[s] grateful'' to the Massachusetts Democrat for defending Mr. Quayle's Senate record during the 1988 campaign.

Voters in the west-central Kentucky district represented by Democrat William H. Natcher from 1954 until his death this March have elected a Republican.

In a special election held last week, Ron Lewis, a fundamentalist minister, handily defeated the Democratic candidate, Joe Prather.

More than two-thirds of the district's voters are registered as Democrats, and some had characterized the election as a referendum on the Clinton Administration. It is true, though, that Mr. Bush carried the district in 1992.

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