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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( It was normal that those working in the state government should have political connections of some sort. In the Lieutenant Governor's office were Daniel Manion, son of the John Birch Society's Clarence Manion, and Frank Pope, whose family was so close to William Jenner that he grew up calling him Uncle Bill. In the budget agency was Judy Palmer, who was the personal assistant to Edgar Whitcomb's wife during Whitcomb's 1968 campaign for Governor; in the prosecutor's office was Vicki Ursalkis. All these people were students at the night school, only a few blocks from the statehouse, but they saw more of each other during their daytime tasks, in the balconies ringing the rotunda, than in the school, even though Quayle, Pope, Ursalkis and Palmer made up a study group for their law classes. According to Pope, the women carried the men in these preparations. "Dan and I wouldn't have done what we did in law school without Vicki and Judy." Quayle dated Vicki before he met Marilyn.

Most of these Republicans had past ties to the Jenner organization, which Quayle's grandfather had opposed for years, but that did not trouble Quayle's relations with them. Quayle liked to ask Pope's mother, when he played bridge at her house, about the old Jenner wars she relished as a party organizer. He took this in without much comment, and certainly without reciprocal revelations. "There was one thing Dan Quayle never talked about," Frank Pope says now, "and that was his family."

The statehouse was a den of young activists, among whom Quayle seemed almost apolitical. Pope says Manion "dragged" Quayle and him to a meeting or two of the Young Americans for Freedom, but "Dan ((Manion)) was so far right he scared Danny and me." Certainly there were young activists in Quayle's circle who shared his father's zeal for Ashbrook. But Quayle did his work at the attorney general's office and in class, and went home to his grandmother's house in Lebanon.

Marilyn Tucker was as bright as the women in Quayle's study group, and her uncle, the Indiana secretary of state, was a Jenner man. She and Quayle were sure of each other from the start and were married in 1972 by the friend of both their families, Kent Frandsen. It was a fine political marriage by Indiana standards, but after passing the bar exam in 1974 Quayle went back to Huntington, to his father's small paper, without announced political ambitions.

The myth now firmly established is that some Fort Wayne party men chose | Quayle because of his looks for the thankless task of running against eight- term Democratic Congressman Ed Roush in 1976. Quayle was recently introduced to a board meeting of the Hoover Institution as one who volunteered to "fall on his sword" in that 1976 campaign. But Walter Helmke, the G.O.P. candidate in 1974, says that the idea of Roush's invincibility is nonsense. "He only beat me by 8,000 votes, and that was in the post-Watergate election when Republicans did badly. When Dan ran against Roush, Gerald Ford swept Indiana for the Republicans. Ford carried Dan."

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