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James Danforth "Dan" Quayle (born February 4, 1947) was the 44th Vice President of the United States, serving under George H. W. Bush (1989–1993). He served as a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from the state of Indianamarker.

Early life

Quayle was born in Indianapolismarker, Indianamarker, to Martha Corinne Pulliam and James Cline Quayle. He has often been incorrectly referred to as James Danforth Quayle III. In his memoirs, he points out that his birth name was simply James Danforth Quayle. The name Quayle originates from the Isle of Manmarker.

His maternal grandfather, Eugene C. Pulliam, was a wealthy and influential publishing magnate who founded Central Newspapers, Inc., owner of over a dozen major newspapers such as The Arizona Republic and The Indianapolis Star. James C. Quayle moved his family to Arizonamarker in 1955 to run a branch of the family's publishing empire. While the Quayle family was very wealthy, Dan Quayle was less so; his total net worth by the time of his election in 1988 was less than a million dollars.

After spending much of his youth in Arizona, he graduated from Huntington High School in Huntington, Indianamarker, in 1965. He then matriculated at DePauw Universitymarker, where he received his B.A. degree in political science in 1969, and where he was a member of the fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon (Psi Phi chapter). After receiving his degree, Quayle joined the Indiana Army National Guard and served from 1969–1975, attaining the rank of sergeant. While serving in the Guard, he earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in 1974 at Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolismarker. At law school, he met his future wife, Marilyn, who was taking night classes at the time.

Early political career

Quayle became an investigator for the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General in July 1971. Later that year, he became an administrative assistant to Governor Edgar Whitcomb. From 1973 to 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.

In 1976, Quayle was elected by a margin to the House of Representatives from Indiana's 4th congressional district, defeating eight-term incumbent Democrat J. Edward Roush. 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 Senate from the state of Indianamarker, 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. His 1986 victory was notable because several other Republican Senators elected in 1980 were not returned to office.

In 1986, Quayle was criticized for championing the cause of Daniel Anthony Manion, a candidate for a federal appellate judgeship, who was in law school one year above Quayle. The American Bar Association had evaluated him as "qualified", its lowest passing grade. According to the ABA, "the rating of 'qualified' means that the nominee satisfies the committee's very high standards... (and) is qualified to perform satisfactorily all the duties and responsibilities required of a federal judge." Manion was nominated for U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit by President Ronald Reagan on February 21, 1986, and confirmed by the Senate on June 26, 1986. , Manion continues to serve on the Seventh Circuit.

Vice Presidential candidate

On August 17 at the Republican convention in New Orleansmarker, Louisianamarker, George H. W. Bush called on Quayle to be his running mate in the 1988 United States presidential election. The choice immediately became controversial. Press coverage of the convention was dominated with questions about "the three Quayle problems", in the phrase of Brent Baker, executive director of the Media Research Center, a conservative group that monitors television coverage. The questions involved his military service, a golf trip to Floridamarker with Paula Parkinson, and whether he had enough experience to be President. Quayle seemed at times rattled and at other times uncertain or evasive as he tried to handle the questions. Delegates to the convention generally blamed television and newspapers for the focus on Quayle's problems, but Bush's staff said they thought Quayle had mishandled the questions about his military record, leaving questions dangling. Although Republicans were trailing by up to 15 points in public opinion polls taken before the convention, they received a significant boost that put them in the lead, which they did not relinquish for the rest of the campaign.

Vice Presidency

Vice President Quayle bust from the Senate collection, the last addition to the Vice Presidential bust collection
The Bush/Quayle ticket went on to win the November election with a 53–46 percent margin by sweeping 40 states and capturing 426 electoral votes.

Bush named Quayle head of the Council on Competitiveness and the first chairman of the National Space Council. As head of the NSC he called for greater efforts to protect Earth against the danger of potential asteroid impacts.

Throughout his time as vice president, Quayle was widely ridiculed in the media and by many in the general public, in both the U.S. and overseas, as an intellectual lightweight. Contributing greatly to the perception of Quayle's incompetence was his tendency to make public statements which were either self-contradictory ("The holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history.… No, not our nation's, but in World War II. I mean, we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this century, but in this century's history."), impossible ("I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future") or confused and inappropriate, as when he addressed the United Negro College Fund, whose slogan is "A mind is a terrible thing to waste," and said, "You take the UNCF model that what a waste it is to lose one's mind or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is."

Shortly after Bush announced the Space Exploration Initiative, which included a manned landing on Mars, Quayle was asked his thoughts on sending humans to Mars. In his response he made a number of errors: "Mars is essentially in the same orbit [as Earth]....Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe."

His most famous blunder occurred when he corrected student William Figueroa's correct spelling of "potato" to "potatoe" at an elementary school spelling bee in Trenton, New Jerseymarker, on June 15, 1992. Although he was relying on cards provided by the school which included the misspelling, Quayle was widely lambasted for his apparent inability to spell the word "potato". According to his memoirs, Quayle was uncomfortable with the version he gave, but did so because he decided to trust the school's incorrect written materials. Figueroa was a guest on Late Night with David Letterman and was asked to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the 1992 Democratic National Convention.

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 on a decay of moral values and family structure in American society. In an aside, he cited the single mother 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" became one of the most memorable incidents of the 1992 campaign. Long after the outcry had ended, the comment continued to have an effect on U.S. politics. Stephanie Coontz, a professor of family history and the author of several books and essays about the history of marriage, says that this brief remark by Quayle about Murphy Brown "kicked off more than a decade of outcries against the 'collapse of the family.'" In 2002, Candice Bergen, the actress who played Brown, said "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."

1992 election

During the 1992 election, Bush and Quayle were challenged in their bid for reelection by the Democratic ticket of Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton and Tennesseemarker Senator Al Gore, as well as the independent ticket of Texasmarker businessman Ross Perot and retired Admiral James Stockdale.

As Bush lagged in the polls in the weeks preceding the August 1992 Republican National Convention, some Republican strategists (led by Secretary of State James Baker), viewed Quayle as a liability to the ticket and pushed for his replacement. Quayle survived the challenge and secured renomination.

Quayle faced off against Gore and Stockdale in the vice-presidential debate on October 13, 1992. Quayle attempted to avoid the one-sided outcome of his debate with Lloyd Bentsen four years earlier by staying on the offensive. Quayle criticized Gore's book Earth in the Balance with specific page references, though his claims were subsequently criticized for inaccuracy. Quayle's closing argument sharply asked voters "Do you really believe Bill Clinton will tell the truth?" and "Do you trust Bill Clinton to be your president?", whereas Gore and Stockdale talked more about the policies and philosophies they espoused. Republican loyalists were largely relieved and pleased with Quayle's performance, and the Vice President's camp attempted to portray it as an upset triumph against a veteran debater. However, post-debate polls were mixed on whether Gore or Quayle had won. It ultimately proved to be a minor factor in the election, which Bush and Quayle would subsequently lose.

Post-vice presidency

Quayle considered but decided against running for Governor of Indiana in 1996.

He declined to run for the 1996 Republican presidential nomination, citing health problems related to phlebitis.

In April 1999, he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for 2000, attacking George W. Bush by saying "we do not want another candidate who needs on-the-job training". In the first contest among the Republican candidates, the Ames Straw Poll of August 1999, he finished eighth. Commentators said that while he had the most political experience among prospective candidates (over Bush and Bob Dole) and potential grassroots support among conservatives, his campaign was hampered by the legacy of his vice-presidency. He withdrew from the race the following month and supported Bush.

It was reported in the May 5, 2007 issue of The New York Times in an article about a lawsuit filed by Greg LeMond against Timothy Blixseth, that Dan Quayle and Bill Gates both have homes in the Yellowstone Club, a Rocky Mountains ski and golf club located near Big Sky, Montanamarker, just north of Yellowstone National Parkmarker.

Dan Quayle is Chairman of an international division of Cerberus Capital Management, a multi-billion dollar private equity firm, and president of Quayle and Associates. He is an Honorary Trustee Emeritus of the Hudson Institute.

Quayle authored a memoir, Standing Firm, which became a bestseller. His second book, The American Family: Discovering the Values that Make Us Strong, was published in the spring of 1996 and a third book, Worth Fighting For, in 1999. Quayle 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. As chairman of the international advisory board of Cerberus Capital Management, he recruited former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, who would have been installed as chairman if Cerberus had successfully acquired Air Canada.

The Quayles live in Paradise Valley, Arizonamarker. Quayle, then working as an investment banker in Phoenix, was mentioned as a candidate for Governor of Arizona prior to the 2002 election, but he declined to run.

Dan Quayle signed the statement of principles of the Project for the New American Century.

The Dan Quayle Center and Museum is located in Huntington, Indianamarker, and features information on Quayle and all U.S. vice presidents.

Electoral history

  • 1976 election for U.S. House of Representatives — 4th District
    • Dan Quayle (R), 54%
    • Ed Roush (D) (inc.), 45%

  • 1978 election for U.S. House of Representatives — 4th District
    • Dan Quayle (R) (inc.)

  • 1980 election for U.S. Senate

Published material

  • Standing Firm: A Vice-Presidential Memoir, Harper Collins, May 1994. hardcover, ISBN 0-06-017758-6; mass market paperback, May, 1995; ISBN 0-06-109390-4; Limited edition, 1994, ISBN 0-06-017601-6
  • The American Family: Discovering the Values That Make Us Strong (with Diane Medved), Harpercollins, April 1996, ISBN 0060173785 (hardcover), ISBN 0060928107 (paperback)
  • Worth Fighting For, W Publishing Group, July 1999, ISBN 0-8499-1606-2


  1. QUAYLE, James Danforth (Dan) - Biographical Information
  2. U.S. Senate: Art & History Home > J. Danforth Quayle, 44th Vice President (1989-1993)
  3. Ancestry of Dan Quayle (b. 1947)
  4. Ramesh Ponnuru, No Joke: Dan Quayle runs to win, National Review, April 5, 1999, accessed May 16, 2007.
  6. Squeeze Play - TIME
  8. Ander Plattner et al., "Quayle Under Glass", U.S. News & World Report, August 29, 1988, p.32.
  9. Quayle Backs Group's Effort To Head Off Asteroid Threat Seattle Times 1990
  10. The value and vitality of V.P.s | The San Diego Union-Tribune
  11. Dan Quayle, by William Boot - CJR, Sept/Oct 91
  12. William E. Burrows, This New Ocean, p.576. ISBN 0-679-44521-8.
  13. For Better, For Worse
  14. Rumor has it that Cheney's on way out / Theory appears far-fetched but is making the rounds
  15. Time, "Quayle Vs. Gore", October 19, 1992. Accessed August 29, 2008.
  16. FAIR MEDIA ADVISORY: Post-Debate Fact-Checking Is Media's Main Job
  17. "Debate Transcript, Commission on Presidential Debates,
  18. Columbia Journalism Review, September/October 1993 "
  19. David Broder on PBS Newshour. September 27, 1999
  20. Robbins, Jim. "New Twists and New Bitterness in Suit Over Montana Resort". The New York Times, May 5, 2007. Accessed August 29, 2008.

Further reading

  • What a Waste It Is to Lose One's Mind: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Dan Quayle, Quayle Quarterly (published by Rose Communications), April 1992, ISBN 0-9629162-2-6.
  • Joe Queenan, Imperial Caddy: The Rise of Dan Quayle in America and the Decline and Fall of Practically Everything Else, Hyperion Books; October 1992 (1st edition). ISBN 1-56282-939-4.
  • Richard F. Fenno, Jr., The Making of a Senator: Dan Quayle, Congressional Quarterly Press, January 1989. ISBN 0-87187-506-3.

External links

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