44th Vice President of the United States (1989-1993)
Full Name: James Danforth “Dan” Quayle
Born: February 4, 1947, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana
College: DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana; Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis, Indiana
Career Before the Vice Presidency: Served in the Indiana National Guard (1969-1975); Investigator, Consumer Protection Division, Office of the Attorney General of Indiana (1971); Administrative assistant to Indiana Governor Edgar Whitcomb (1971-1973); Director of the Inheritance Tax Division, Indiana Department of Revenue (1973-1974); Lawyer, Huntington, Indiana (1974-1976); Associate publisher of the Huntington Herald Press newspaper, Huntington, Indiana; Member of the United States House of Representatives from Indiana (R-IN, January 3, 1977-January 3, 1981); United States Senator from Indiana (R-IN, January 3, 1981-January 3, 1989); 1988 Republican Vice Presidential nominee (August 18, 1988)
Political Party as Vice President: Republican
State Represented as Vice President: Indiana
Term as Vice President: January 3, 1989-January 3, 1993
Length of Vice Presidency: 4 years, 0 days
Age at Inauguration: 41 years, 351 days
Served: President Bush/51st Administration/101st Congress and 102nd Congress
Post-Vice Presidential Career: 1992 Republican nominee for re-election as Vice President of the United States; Unsuccessful Republican candidate for re-election as Vice President of the United States (1992); Unsuccessful candidate for the 2000 Republican Presidential nomination (1999); Director, Cerberus Capital Management, New York City, New York; Investment banker, Phoenix, Arizona
Age at Death:
Cause of Death:
Random Facts About Vice President Quayle:
•Although he was born in Indiana and represented the Hoosier State in Congress and as Vice President, Dan Quayle grew up in Arizona and relocated there after his political career ended.
•Quayle was born into a family of newspaper publishers. His maternal grandfather owned numerous major American newspapers, his father managed and owned several newspapers, and Quayle worked for a time as associate publisher of the Huntington (Indiana) Herald-Press after graduating college.
•In 1992, when President George H.W. Bush and Vice President Quayle were defeated for reelection by Bill Clinton and Al Gore, it was the first election that Dan Quayle ever lost.
•Quayle was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Indiana at the age of 29, to the United States Senate at age 33, and the Vice Presidency at age 41. Quayle was the youngest person ever elected to the Senate from Indiana, and remains the third-youngest Vice President in history — only John C. Breckinridge and Richard Nixon were inaugurated as VP at a younger age.
•In 1978, Congressman Leo Ryan invited then-Representative Quayle to accompany him on a fact-finding trip to Guyana to investigate the People’s Temple cult led by Jim Jones at Jonestown. Quayle ended up not being able to make the trip with Ryan, who was assassinated by followers of Jones as the Congressman attempted to leave Guyana with other members of the cult. The assassination of Congressman Ryan and several people traveling with him triggered the massacre and mass suicide at Jonestown which killed over 900 people.
•Quayle is best-remembered for his numerous gaffes and a perception by the press and late-night talk show hosts that he wasn’t qualified to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency and…well…dumb. During the 1988 Vice Presidential debate between Quayle and Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen, Quayle tried to combat attacks about his youth and inexperience by noting that he had “far more experience than many others that sought the office for Vice President of this country” and “I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the Presidency.” (Which was actually true) Bentsen’s response was one of the most vicious and memorable moments in American political history: “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.” All Quayle could respond with was, “That was really uncalled for.” Incidents like the “potatoe” incident and quotes like “I stand by all the misstatements that I’ve made” (during an interview with Sam Donaldson on ABC) didn’t help the public’s perception of Quayle.
•When George H.W. Bush stunned the political world and chose Dan Quayle as his running mate in 1988, some Republicans had trouble with finding the right tone when praising their party’s Vice Presidential nominee. Senator John McCain suggested that the youthful Quayle might help draw some female voters to support the ticket. When McCain received some criticism about his comments from Torie Clark, who worked in Bush’s campaign and later became White House Press Secretary, McCain told her, “Torie, I know three things about Dan Quayle: He’s dumber than shit, he’s a scratch golfer, and he’s good-looking. I went with his strengths.” Surprisingly, that did not end up in any campaign literature.
•Quayle briefly considered running for either Governor of Indiana or the Republican Presidential nomination in 1996, but declined for health reasons. In 2000, Quayle did seek the Republican Presidential nomination, but dropped his bid after a poor showing in the 1999 Ames (Iowa) straw poll.
•His son, Ben Quayle, served one term in the United States House of Representatives from Arizona (2011-2013), but lost his bid for re-election after redistricting forced a face-off between him and another incumbent Republican Congressman.
•While there are many Presidential Libraries, there are few places dedicated to the history of the Vice Presidency. Quayle’s hometown of Huntington, Indiana is the site of the United States Vice Presidential Museum at the Dan Quayle Center, and hosts exhibits with artifacts about Quayle, other Vice Presidents, and the history of the Vice Presidents.
Diplomacy in the [George W.] Bush Administration is, ‘Alright, you fuckers, do what we say.’”
Richard Armitage, George W. Bush’s Deputy Secretary of State
I think Robert Gates is probably the best Secretary of Defense (or Secretary of War) since Henry L. Stimson and probably in the Top 5 in all of American history (a lot of Americans would probably be surprised to realize that many historians, including myself consider Jefferson Davis to be #1). Gates was loyal, dependable, incredibly smart, eminently qualified, and had the respect and confidence of not only the military, but two Presidents from different parties who had almost nothing in common other than Robert Gates as their Secretary of Defense. For President Bush and President Obama, Secretary Gates was the ideal Cabinet member — supportive, yet unafraid to voice objections or an opposing viewpoint, and completely capable of managing his department and getting the most out of his people. I have nothing but respect for Robert Gates.
General Petraeus would be a hell of a Presidential candidate. We don’t know for sure which party the General belongs to, but I think most people believe that he is a Republican. If General Petraeus was the Republican Presidential nominee in 2012 instead of Mitt Romney, I think President Obama would probably go ahead and start getting some packing done for his move back to Chicago. I think Petraeus would have beaten Obama pretty handily. The fact that the President put the General in charge of the CIA may not have been politically motivated, but it was undoubtedly politically beneficial to get Petraeus out of the immediate public eye and set up at Langley.
As for Colin Powell, I was disappointed in him long before his resignation as Secretary of State. General Powell was one of the most respected Americans alive when he joined President George W. Bush’s Cabinet in 2001 and, from the outset, it appeared that Powell would be the voice of reason in the Bush Administration following 9/11 as the neo-conservatives were clamoring for war in Iraq. I lost so much respect for General Powell because he knew war with Iraq was wrong, he clearly didn’t believe war in Iraq was necessary, and yet he still went to the United Nations and did the Bush Administration’s bidding in an attempt to build a coalition. In Powell’s mind, I believe he felt he was being a good, loyal soldier in the service of his President, but serving his President conflicted with how best to serve his country. It was sad to see Powell in that role (not Secretary of State, but the role he played in the lead-up to the Iraq War). That’s when I was disappointed in General Powell, and it’s a shame because of Powell’s stature. Many younger Americans don’t realize that, 12 years before Barack Obama was elected President, Colin Powell seriously weighed taking on Bill Clinton in Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign. Had General Powell run in ‘96, he definitely would have been the GOP nominee and probably would have been elected the first black President. In his excellent book about the 1996 campaign, The Choice (BOOK•KINDLE), Bob Woodward notes that Powell’s decision not to run led to genuine relief for President Clinton and Clinton’s political aides.