Dan Quayle life and biography

Dan Quayle picture, image, poster

Dan Quayle biography

Date of birth : 1947-02-04
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Politics
Last modified : 2010-09-08
Credited as : Politician, former U.S. vice-president,

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


Dan Quayle is best known for his term as Vice President from 1989 to 1993, serving under U.S. President George Bush. In this position, Quayle, according to Victor Gold in the American Spectator, "carried out his official duties, including a few touchy overseas assignments, with skill and . . . aplomb. He was given a chance to be more than vice presidential potted plantery when key policy and personnel decisions were made in the Bush White House, and he weighed in with . . . sound policy and shrewd political counsel." Andrew Ferguson in Commentary lauded Quayle as "a superior Vice President: loyal, tireless, politically astute, a voice for principle in an ideologically flaccid administration." Quayle's contributions to his office included overseeing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Competitiveness Council--the latter organization described by Hugh Hewitt in the Los Angeles Times Book Review as a "regulatory watchdog unit." Despite these achievements, Quayle's image was heavily influenced by wide media coverage of gaffes he made in speeches or other public forums, and by jokes suggesting a lack of mental acuity. "Do you know how many favorable stories it takes to overcome one zinger by Johnny Carson?" Quayle asks in his 1994 memoir, Standing Firm. Reviewers suggest the book is, among other things, the former vice president's attempt to refute his negative reputation.

Quayle was born February 4, 1947, in Indianapolis, Indiana. He changed schools frequently as a child, and notes in Standing Firm: "Whenever I arrived at a new one, the teacher would put me in the last row, which was reserved for the slow kids. Within a matter of weeks I'd made it to the front of the room." Quayle's family was in the newspaper business, and while attending DePauw University, he served on the staff of the Huntington Herald Press. He eventually chose a career in law and government, however, obtaining his law degree from Indiana University, and was admitted to the state bar of Indiana in 1974. While attending Indiana University, he married classmate Marilyn Tucker, who also became an attorney.

Quayle became involved in Indiana state government during his law school years. He worked in the Office of the Attorney General on consumer protection, then served as administrative assistant to the governor. In 1976, at the age of twenty-nine, he successfully ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, "defeating a popular incumbent," according to Kevin Phillips in the New York Times Book Review. Phillips further recounted that Quayle then "grabbed a United States Senate seat the same way four years later and in 1988 outmaneuvered many experienced graybeards in getting selected as the Vice Presidential nominee."

Quayle hypothesizes in Standing Firm that it was this unexpected nomination as Bush's running mate that began his troubled relationship with the press. "There was a hostile edge to the coverage [of the nomination], and some of it may have sprung from the fact that the press had been caught off-guard," he explains. "I wasn't the choice they were expecting, and some of them sounded as if George Bush had let them down by not picking one of the people they were prepared to talk about in detail." Quayle's image was not helped by his performance in the 1988 Vice Presidential debate with Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen. Robert C. Baker in the Voice Literary Supplement described the occasion as the time when "Bentsen dropped the 'You're no Jack Kennedy' hammer between [Quayle's] eyes." There was also a controversy about Quayle having served in the Indiana National Guard during the Vietnam War instead of fighting in Vietnam itself.

Nevertheless, the Republican Bush-Quayle ticket defeated its Democratic counterpart handily in the 1988 election. Quayle's image problems were far from over, however. The media joked about mistakes including a misquotation of the "A mind is a terrible thing to waste" slogan of the United Negro College Fund, and the infamous misspelling of potato during a visit to a school. In Standing Firm, Quayle discusses these and other incidents in detail. Hugh Hewitt reported in the Los Angeles Times Book Review that Quayle "does not grant his own record immunity. Every one of his gaffes is recounted in unsparing detail. . . . Quayle understood, it seems, that to critique the media would require an unflinching review of his own deposits in the media's vast reserves of anti-Quayle lore." Hewitt agreed that Quayle had been unfairly treated by the media, observing that "others could gaffe away, including Al Gore [Quayle's successor as Vice President], who, without repercussion, once commented that a leopard could not change its stripes. The media's cheat sheet had judged Gore to be serious and thoughtful. Slips of the tongue could be ignored."

Quayle's image continued to be a concern when George Bush was hospitalized with heart fibrillations. Though the president's health was found not to be truly endangered, the incident led to more extreme scrutiny of Quayle's suitability to be president in the event Bush should be incapacitated. When Bush sought re-election in 1992, there were those who urged that Quayle be dropped from the ticket. The president, however, remained loyal. During the campaign, Quayle became involved in yet another controversy, when he criticized television character Murphy Brown for choosing to have a baby without its father being involved. Quayle defended his statement as an attack on the morals of what he termed the "media elite" in a speech before the 1992 Republican National Convention. This address was partially quoted in the Voice Literary Supplement by Baker: "I stand before you . . . unbowed and unbroken and ready to keep fighting. . . . We've taken on the strongest forces of the status quo and we will not back down. . . . We've taken on the Democratic Congress, and we will not back down. . . . We've taken on Hollywood and the media elite, and we will not back down."

After Bush and Quayle lost the election, Quayle returned to his native Indiana and began work on Standing Firm, which was described by Baker in the Voice Literary Supplement as "four hundred pages [that] seem to come directly from his Hoosier heart." Hewitt, in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, hailed Standing Firm as "a fine memoir: briskly written, closely argued, nuanced and persuasive." More important to the reviewer, Hewitt felt that "Quayle has, first and foremost, delivered a devastating indictment of journalism. It has teeth. It scores. It cannot, in fact, be answered."

Reviewers of the volume--both favorable and negative--saw it as an effort on Quayle's part to rebuild his reputation as a prelude to seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 1996. Quayle indeed seemed poised, early in 1995, to begin an active campaign for the 1996 Republican presidential nomination. Following a brief hospitalization for a lung embolism, he declared his health to be good and not a problem in terms of a presidential bid. He withdrew from the campaign just weeks before he was expected to formally announce his candidacy, however; according to several of his advisers the decision was not related to his health, but was based in large part on the increasing difficulties inherent in financing major political campaigns.


Born February 4, 1947, in Indianapolis, IN; son of James C. and Corinne (Pulliam) Quayle; married Marilyn Tucker (an attorney), November 18, 1972; children: Tucker, Benjamin, Corinne. Education: DePauw University, B.A., 1969; Indiana University, J.D., 1974. Politics: Republican. Religion: Presbyterian. Military/Wartime Service: Indiana Army National Guard, captain, 1970-76. Memberships: Hoosier State Press Association, Huntington Bar Association, Rotary Club.

Named one of Ten Outstanding Young Americans (in national affairs), 1982, by the United States Jaycees.


Admitted to the state bar of Indiana, 1974; Huntington Herald Press (newspaper), Huntington, IN, court reporter and pressman, 1965-69, associate publisher and general manager, 1974-76; Office of the Attorney General, State of Indiana, member of the consumer protection division, 1970-71; State of Indiana, administrative assistant to the governor, 1971-73, director of the Indiana Inheritance Tax Division, 1973-74; Huntington College, Huntington, IN, instructor in business law, 1975; U.S. House of Representatives, congressman from 4th Indiana district, 1976- 81; U.S. Senate, senator from Indiana, 1981-89; Vice President of the United States, 1989-93; Circle Investors, Indianapolis, IN, chairman, 1993--.


* NATO and the Economic Recession: Report of Dan Quayle to the Committe on Armed Services, United States Senate, US G.P.O. (Washington, DC), 1982.
* (Editor with Robert E. Hunter and C. Elliott Farmer) Strategic Defense and the Western Alliance, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University (Washington, DC), 1986.
* (With George Bush) The Wit & Wisdom of George Bush: With Some Reflections from Dan Quayle, edited by Ken Brady and Jeremy Solomon, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1989.
* Report on National Biotechnology Policy, The President's Council on Competitiveness (Washington, DC), 1991.
* (Editor with Robert E. Hunter and C. Elliott Farmer) Strategic Defense and the Western Alliance, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University (Washington, DC), 1986.
* Standing Firm: A Vice-Presidential Memoir, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1994.
* (With Diane Medved) The American Family: Discovering the Values That Make Us Strong, HarperCollins, 1996.
* Worth Fighting For, Word Publishing, 1999.

Also author of, contributor to, or co-editor of monographs and short works, including NATO and the Economic Recession, Strategic Defense and the Western Alliance, and Report on National Biotechnology Policy.

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