Bob Dole set aside his morning to celebrate virtue Wednesday, but by nightfall he was headed straight toward the city of vice.
First came an anti-drug salvo leveled against the fashion and entertainment industries at Chaminade College Preparatory High School in West Hills, where he unveiled a new, if somewhat derivative, anti-drug slogan and logo to the chants of a gymnasium filled with students: "Just Don't Do It."
Later came a flight to Las Vegas, Sin City to America, where gambling is legal, alcohol is available 24 hours a day and Dole will spend this morning looking for votes and campaign funds.
The gambling industry has contributed heavily to both parties, but it has favored Dole's campaign over President Clinton's of late, in part because Clinton has supported a federal inquest into the social impact of gambling. Gaming industry executives and political action committees have given Dole $174,150 and Clinton $65,600 in the current election cycle, according to campaign finance reports.
"A president is supposed to show the way," Dole told hundreds of students in West Hills, ratcheting up the volume in his attacks on his rival. "The president has shown his moral confusion. We will never have a firm, confident, national message against drugs when our leaders are ambivalent themselves."
In between the Valley and Vegas, Dole stopped in Chico, where his campaign encountered a literal stumbling block. Leaning off the edge of a stage to shake hands with supporters, Dole put too much of his weight on a fake railing and tumbled into the audience.
Later, as he shook hands, Dole, who was not injured, joked with a supporter who asked him how he liked Chico.
"Not bad, I fell right in," the candidate replied.
The incident did, however, provide the sort of television moment that campaigns try to avoid--a visual metaphor for a presidential bid that has stumbled.
Dole's speech at Chaminade was his third tongue-lashing of a recalcitrant Hollywood since he announced his run for president 17 months ago. Dole blamed popular culture for glorifying drug use and Clinton for "making light of his own experimentation with drugs."
He also decried the apparel world's "junkie chic" and called the much-talked-about movies "Pulp Fiction" and "Trainspotting" horrible examples of the glorification of heroin.
"There can be no question that the perceptions of a 15-year-old are shaped by music and movies and fashion," he said. "And there can be no question that the trendiest trend of our popular culture is the return of drug use."
But while Dole's first two speeches on the subject of Hollywood's responsibilities to the larger culture drew considerable praise, Wednesday's reprise--like a movie with too many sequels--seemed to draw harsher reviews. Dole's critics in the movie industry accused him of badly misconstruing movies that he had never seen.
"If Dole is referring to the scene in 'Pulp Fiction' where a needle goes into Uma Thurman's heart, he has a pretty strange idea of glamour," said producer Edgar Scherick.
"If Dole had criticized Hollywood for glorifying cigarette smoking or driving above the speed limit, he may have something," said Mark Johnson, producer of "A Little Princess." "In this case, he's out in left field," Johnson said, noting that while characters in "Trainspotting," a film about young Scottish heroin addicts, start out by talking of heroin's glories, "by the end of the film anyone with eyes and ears sees what happens to them."
Quentin Tarantino, the director of "Pulp Fiction," was harsher. "I've never seen a politician so consistently give opinions about issues he knows nothing about," he said. "How can a leader condemn works of art he hasn't seen."
Dole's press secretary, Nelson Warfield, confirmed that the candidate had not seen either of the movies he criticized and was relying on reviews.
Dole's new anti-drug slogan also drew mixed reviews--from the audience and from the athletic shoemaker whose "Just Do It" slogan he has appropriated.
Oliver Agostini, a 16-year-old senior from Tarzana, thought "it was great . . . I think it's a good slogan." Dole gave "a very influential speech," he said.
But Rebecca Gross, a 17-year-old senior from Woodland Hills, was far less impressed. "Personally, I think he should have spent a little less time cutting down Clinton and a little more time coming up with a plan of action," she said. "Besides his slogan . . . I didn't hear much of an action plan."
And at Nike, company spokesman Bill Small grumbled that "we are a sports and fitness company. We're a bit uncomfortable being brought into the political arena. Our slogan is based in sports. We would have preferred him to use a slogan that is more relevant to this issue."
Dole's Chaminade address rounded out a week in which he released a glossy 35-page plan to cut the twin scourges of drugs and violence and visited a tent-city prison where inmates--many convicted of drug-related charges--work on chain gangs in the searing Arizona heat.