To be sure, Administration officials caution that the measure still contains about 15 provisions that the White House views as potential stumbling-blocks. But U.S. Trade Representative Clayton K. Yeutter, who earlier this month led the Administration's most vocal attack on the Gephardt strategy, said he is optimistic. "We hope the Super Tuesday results will encourage lawmakers to begin jettisoning some of these provisions," he said.
Both Gephardt and Dole have leaned heavily on the trade issue during their campaigns. Gephardt has charged that the Administration has failed to take a tough enough stance on trade disputes, and he has singled out countries such as South Korea for imposing barriers to imports from the United States.
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In one provocative television commercial, he showed a $10,000 Chrysler K-Car that he declared would cost $48,000 in South Korea because of trade restrictions and local taxes. Trade experts here have disputed that figure and noted that South Korea has been reducing its auto import tariffs steadily since 1986.
Dole's failure to garner support in the Carolinas after supporting quotas on foreign textile imports also surprised some analysts. The Kansas senator conspicuously endorsed trade legislation that the industry is proposing, while his opponent, Vice President George Bush, publicly disdained the issue. Asked for his views of the textile industry's import problems, Bush told one Carolina audience: "\o7 C'est la vie\f7 "--French for "That's life."