Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008

Dan Quayle

Bush's choice of 41-year-old Indiana Senator J. Danforth Quayle as his running mate shocked the political establishment, which had expected the longtime diplomat to pick someone more seasoned. Quayle didn't help his case by refusing to release his academic records. He had plenty to be modest about: he had failed an undergraduate comprehensive exam at DePauw University; one of his former professors referred to him as "vapid"; and he was admitted to law school at the University of Indiana under an "equal opportunity" program for poor and minority students. Quayle earned one of the worst beatdowns in televised political history by comparing himself to John F. Kennedy in the 1988 Vice Presidential debate, prompting a scathingly dismissive "You're no Jack Kennedy" from opponent Lloyd Bentsen. In office, his constant verbal gaffes made him a political laughingstock. "We don't want to go back to tomorrow, we want to go forward." "I stand by all my misstatements." "Bobby Knight told me this, 'There is nothing that a good defense cannot beat a better offense.' In other words, a good offense wins." But it was the dreaded "potatoe" incident that did Quayle in. While visiting a school in Trenton, NJ, a student was asked to write the word 'potato' on the blackboard and Quayle urged him to add an 'e' to the end. The entire nation held its belly in laughter.

Kate Pickert