LOS ANGELES -- Seeming to relish what some describe as a role of "attack dog" for his boss, Vice President Dan Quayle yesterday added a controversial rapper's song to his list of targets for criticism.
Commenting on Time Warner Inc., the parent company of the record label that released a song called "Cop Killer" by Ice T, Mr. Quayle said: "Here is a very influential corporation, supporting and making money off a record that suggests it's OK to kill cops. I find that outrageous."
The vice president's arrival in Southern California coincided with President Bush's signing into law a $1 billion emergency urban aid and summer jobs package. The package boosts federal disaster loan funds depleted by rioting here and by massive flooding in Chicago and provides $500 million to put up to 414,000 youths to work this summer.
Mr. Quayle first arrived in San Diego, where his denunciation of "Cop Killer" drew a standing ovation from about 1,500 members of the National Sheriffs' Association at a convention there. The statement left him in the predicament of agreeing with Democratic nominee Bill Clinton's criticism of another rapper, Sister Souljah, for spouting what Mr. Clinton perceived as "racial hatred" in an interview.
In Los Angeles, he declined to support or decry a boycott of Time Warner. "If people want to choose that boycott, that's fine with me," he said. "I'm not saying they should or shouldn't. But I do find this conduct of this corporation on this particular example quite unbecoming."
Time Warner spokesman Bob Merlis said: "The anger and the attitude that is portrayed in the song is an inner-city reality. An artist is expressing himself, and the vice president is not getting it."
When asked about the similarities between his criticisms of the "cultural elite" and then-Vice President Spiro T. Agnew's 1970 attack on "nattering nabobs of negativism," the vice president smiled broadly and said he had talked to Mr. Bush about that: "He says, 'I knew Spiro Agnew, Spiro Agnew was a friend of mine, and you're no Spiro Agnew.'
"If it's good enough for the president, it's good enough for me."