DAN QUAYLE: Late Bloomer

Dan Quayle spent much of his life blissfully AWOL from history, a huge handicap even for a faster learner than he has given evidence of being

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There had not been much war protest on the DePauw campus by the time Quayle graduated in 1969. Quayle's father was writing editorials backing the war in Viet Nam, but his son was not paying attention. As graduation approached, Quayle had to do some shopping around to find an opening in the National Guard. (In 1988 he said he meant to go to law school, but he had not applied to one.) He asked people he knew about the Guard, whom to call, but it is unlikely they did or could rig things for him. His grandfather was semiretired in Arizona; his father was not a natural ally in this effort. He had the advantage of knowing where to go, but not of fixing what the response would be.

During his service in the Guard through much of the academic year 1969-70, Quayle decided he did indeed want to study the law. Admission would not be easy after his admittedly poor academic performance at DePauw, but here a personal contact was helpful. He knew the admissions director of the Indiana University law school in Indianapolis -- through his family, as he knew most older people. This admissions director, Kent Frandsen, was a judge in the little town of Lebanon, outside Indianapolis. Another prominent citizen there was Quayle's grandmother, Martha Pulliam, who was given the Lebanon paper as her own in the divorce. (She was the one Quayle would live with.) Frandsen gave Quayle a break, something he was doing for many others at the time. The night school was expanding its enrollment -- it would move into a new and larger building in 1970 -- and Frandsen had a summer program to try out marginal cases. Quayle, out of school for a year, went into that program.

Frandsen did him another favor when he called in Quayle and another student, Frank Pope, and asked them to start a student newspaper for the night school. Before, there had been just a mimeographed sheet. Frandsen wanted to begin life in the new building with a real paper, and he allotted money to the project. Quayle became the editor of the journal he and Pope called the Barrister. It is unlikely Frandsen would have asked Quayle to do this if he doubted he could manage the newspaper along with courses at night and work during the day.

Daytime work was expected of Quayle (he had waited on tables at DePauw), and his father suggested working in the office of Indianapolis Mayor Richard Lugar. The father called his friend, fellow Pulliam editor Stan Evans. According to Evans, "Jim asked me to lunch with Dan. I did most of the talking and learned for the first time that he wanted to go to law school. I said I thought it would be better to work in the ((state)) attorney general's office than in the city government, since I knew that many of the people who worked there were in law school."

Evans knew about the young Republicans in the statehouse, since they were involved with him in conservative causes. As he said of Quayle's performance, "He was not as ideological as the other people in the A.G.'s office. He was certainly not out at Ashbrook rallies." (Evans, a friend of Quayle's father's, agreed with him on the need for a third-party candidate in 1972.)

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