(CNSNews.com) - Rumors alleging that Texas Governor George W Bush used cocaine have put him in the middle of what former Vice President Dan Quayle terms a "full throttle media feeding frenzy."
"I would just say to Gov. Bush, 'Welcome to primetime. These things happen,'" said Quayle, Sunday, on ABC's This Week. Both men are vying for the Republican nomination for the presidential election in 2000.
While admitting that he didn't want to advise Bush, who is the current front runner in a pack of ten GOP presidential hopefuls, Quayle said that the question of illegal drug use will dog Bush until he figures out a strategy to make the question "go away."
Bush has refused to deny using illegal drugs, but last week he said that he had not used illegal drugs in the last 25 years. That, says Quayle, has shifted the "line in the sand where [Bush] said he's simply not going to talk about these things." By partially answering the question, Quayle said that Bush is "probably obliged" to answer the question.
"He's now sort of opened the door a little bit," said Quayle.
Other Republican presidential rivals are also knocking on Bush's door apparently hoping to find a crack in his armor.
"I don't think anything that involves a felony, I don't see how you're going to be able to get away from it," said Gary Bauer on Fox News Sunday.
"These are important questions. It goes to law enforcement. I don't think we can say to our kids, 'Look, this is important and we're serious about it' and then be sort of coy when it comes to a question about it" said Bauer.
Bauer finished fourth in last week's Iowa straw poll behind Bush, Steve Forbes, and Elizabeth Dole, beating fellow conservatives Quayle, Pat Buchanan, and Alan Keyes.
Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, who is also in the GOP presidential race, agreed with Bauer that the drug question was too important to U.S. children to be ignored by presidential candidates. Hatch, Bauer and all the other presidential candidates - Republican and Democratic - except Bush - have said whether or not they have ever used illegal drugs.
"We're making some headway in the battle against drugs," said Hatch on NBC's Meet The Press. "We've passed a number of Hatch bills that are literally starting to make a dent in it, but if we don't have the top leaders living right and doing right and setting an example, then the kids say 'Well they did it, why shouldn't we?"
One outspoken conservative leader, Rev. Jerry Falwell supported Bush and said that he sees nothing to indicate that Bush would fail to meet Hatch's presidential litmus test.
"I don't think there is anything in [Bush's] past that would make him unworthy to be president of the United States," said Falwell on CNN's Late Edition.
Appearing on the same show with Falwell, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who according to a recent poll is running second to Bush in New Hampshire, sympathized with Bush's dilemma.
"He has a right to privacy," said McCain. "But I understand this is a difficult business we're in."