Dan Quayle

Dan Quayle
Missing image
Dan Quayle

Order: 44th Vice President
Term of Office: January 20, 1989
January 20, 1993
Predecessor: George H. W. Bush
Succeeded by: Al Gore
Date of Birth: February 4, 1947
Place of Birth: Indianapolis, Indiana
Wife: Marilyn Tucker
Profession: Publisher, politician
Political Party: Republican
President: George H. W. Bush

James Danforth Quayle III (born February 4, 1947) was the 44th Vice President of the United States under George H. W. Bush (1989-1993). In 2000, he was an unsuccessful candidate to win the Republican nomination for President of the United States.


Early life

Quayle was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. After spending much of his youth in Arizona, he graduated from Huntington High School in Huntington, Indiana in 1965. He then matriculated at DePauw University, where he received his B.A. degree in political science in 1969, and where he was a member of the fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon. After receiving his degree, Quayle joined the Indiana National Guard and served from 1969-1975. While serving in the Guard, he earned a law degree in 1974 at Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis through an experimental program intended to offer "equal opportunity" to minorities, the economically disadvantaged and other students of different viewpoints and backgrounds.

Quayle's public service began in July 1971 when he became an investigator for the Consumer Protection Division of the Indiana Attorney General's Office. Later that year, he became an administrative assistant to Governor Edgar Whitcomb. From 1973-1974, he was the Director of the Inheritance Tax Division of the Indiana Department of Revenue. Upon receiving his law degree, Quayle worked as associate publisher of his family's newspaper, the Huntington Herald-Press, and practiced law with his wife in Huntington.

Early political career

In 1976, Quayle was elected to the U.S. Congress from Indiana's Fourth Congressional District, defeating an eight-term incumbent Democrat. He won reelection in 1978 by the greatest percentage margin ever achieved to that date in the northeast Indiana district. In 1980, at age 33, Quayle became the youngest person ever elected to the U.S. Senate from the State of Indiana, defeating three-term incumbent Democrat Birch Bayh. Making Indiana political history again, Quayle was reelected to the Senate in 1986 with the largest margin ever achieved to that date by a candidate in a statewide Indiana race.

During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Quayle became widely known for his legislative work in the areas of defense, arms control, labor, and human resources. With his service on the Armed Services Committee, the Budget Committee, and the Labor and Human Resources Committee, he became an effective Senator, respected by colleagues on both sides of the aisle. In 1982, working with Senator Edward Kennedy, Quayle authored the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA). This was the only major legislation that ever bore Quayle's name the entire time he served in both the House and the Senate.

In 1986, Quayle received much criticism from his fellow Senators for championing the cause of Daniel Manion, who was a candidate to be a federal judge. It was later revealed that Manion was a member of the John Birch Society and that the American Bar Association had evaluated him as unqualified. The nomination was later withdrawn.

Vice Presidency

In August 1988, at the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, George H. W. Bush called on Quayle to be his running mate in the general election. This decision was criticized by many who felt that Quayle did not have enough experience to be president should something happen to Bush. Many in the media also portrayed him as a lightweight unable to handle the job. This came to a head in the 1988 vice-presidential debate, in which Quayle compared his experience to that of John Kennedy when he became president. Democratic candidate Lloyd Bentsen responded with a devastating put-down: "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy." Quayle was shocked and unable to respond effectively, cried "That was really uncalled for!" and it became one of the defining moments of the 1988 campaign. The Democrats responded with ads that showed a beeping heart monitor and an announcer saying, "Quayle: just a heartbeat away," with the implication that Quayle was not up to the job of the presidency should he have to assume it. The ads, however, seemed to have little effect. Although Republicans were trailing by up to 15 points in public opinion polls taken prior to the convention, the Bush/Quayle ticket went on to win the November election by a convincing 54-46 margin, sweeping 40 states and capturing 426 electoral votes. Quayle was the 44th Vice President of the United States from January 20, 1989, to January 20, 1993.

As Vice President, Quayle was the first chairman of the National Space Council, a space policy body reestablished by statute in 1988. On February 9, 1989, President Bush named Quayle head of the Council on Competitiveness.

Throughout his time as Vice President, Quayle was widely ridiculed in the media and by some of the general public as a mental lightweight. One reason was that he sometimes made confused or garbled statements, although this tendency led to his being "credited" with apocryphal quotations. [1] (http://www.snopes.com/quotes/quayle.htm) Some of the comments he actually did make have been attributed to other politicians, such as George W. Bush. He received the satirical Ig Nobel Prize for "demonstrating, better than anyone else, the need for science education" in 1991. Other critics facetiously remarked that he was a good reason for even Bush's critics to pray for his health. Most famous was his correcting a student's spelling of potato as potatoe at an elementary school spelling bee in Trenton, New Jersey on June 15, 1992. Quayle was allegedly relying on a spelling-bee card on which the word had been misspelled by the teacher.

On May 19, 1992 Quayle gave a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California on the subject of the Los Angeles riots. In this speech Quayle blamed the violence in L.A. on a decay of moral values and family structure in American society. In an aside, he specifically cited the fictional title character in the television program Murphy Brown as an example of how popular culture contributes to this "poverty of values", saying: "[i]t doesn't help matters when primetime TV has Murphy Brown—a character who supposedly epitomizes today's intelligent, highly paid, professional woman—mocking the importance of fathers, by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another 'lifestyle choice.'" Quayle drew a firestorm of criticism from feminist and liberal organizations and was widely ridiculed by late night talk show hosts for this remark. The "Murphy Brown speech" and the resulting media coverage damaged the Republican ticket in the 1992 presidential election and became one of the most memorable incidents of the 1992 campaign. In the 1992-93 season premiere of Murphy Brown, Brown, the character, watched Quayle's comments on television and responded on the show. In 2002, Candice Bergen, the actress, made the comment, "I never have really said much about the whole episode, which was endless, but his speech was a perfectly intelligent speech about fathers not being dispensable and nobody agreed with that more than I did."

During the 1992 election, Bush and Quayle were challenged in their bid for reelection by Democrats Gov. Bill Clinton and Sen. Al Gore. Quayle faced off against Gore in the vice-presidential debate, and, due in part to exceeding low expectations and staying on the offensive by tactics such as criticizing passages in Gore's book Earth in the Balance, was generally seen to have at least tied Gore, faring much better than he had against Bentsen four years earlier. Republicans were largely relieved and pleased, and Quayle's camp hailed his performance as an upset triumph against a veteran debater. However, it was ultimately a minor factor in the election, which Bush and Quayle went on to lose.

Post-vice presidency

In April 1999 he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the 2000 Presidential Election. In the first contest among the Republican candidates, the Iowa straw poll of August 1999, he finished 8th. He withdrew from the race the following month. He is sometimes mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2008.

Former Vice President Dan Quayle is an advisor to the firm Cerberus Capital Management and president of Quayle and Associates. He is an Honorary Trustee Emeriti of the Hudson Institute.

Dan Quayle is the author of Standing Firm, a vice-presidential memoir that became a nationwide bestseller. His second book, The American Family: Discovering the Values that Make Us Strong, came out in the spring of 1996 and Worth Fighting For came out in 1999. The former vice president also writes a nationally syndicated newspaper column, serves on a number of corporate boards, chairs several business ventures, and was chairman of Campaign America, a national political action committee.


Quayle, the oldest of four children, has two brothers and a sister: Chris, Mike, and Martha. He is the son of Jim and Corinne Quayle of Huntington, Indiana.

In November 1972, Quayle married the former Marilyn Tucker of Indianapolis. They are the parents of three children: Tucker, Benjamin, and Corinne.

Quayle enjoys golf, tennis, basketball, skiing, horseback riding, fly fishing, and reading. He particularly enjoys watching his children as they participate in team sports.

Further reading

External links


Preceded by:
George H. W. Bush
Republican Party Vice Presidential candidate
1988 (won), 1992 (lost)
Succeeded by:
Jack Kemp
Preceded by:
George H. W. Bush
Vice President of the United States
January 20, 1989January 20, 1993
Succeeded by:
Al Gore

Template:End box


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