Callers evenly divided on opinions of Quayle 54% think Bush shouldn't choose him as running mate, but many voice their support.

May 10, 1991|By Mark Bomster | Mark Bomster,Evening Sun Staff

"Vice President Dan Quayle."

Those four words are virtually guaranteed to draw a reaction from the politically aware.

Of 685 respondents to an informal telephone survey, more than 100 callers left messages with the Evening Sun's voice mail system in response to this week's "It's Your Call" questions about the vice president's qualifications.

The renewed debate was sparked by President Bush's recent brush with heart trouble, which prompted long-time critics of Quayle to call on the president to dump him as a running mate in 1992.

The telephone survey -- which is not a scientific poll -- indicated that 54 percent of the callers think Bush should pick a different running mate if he runs for re-election, and that 55 percent believe Quayle is not qualified to be president.

But Quayle had plenty of supporters among those who chose to call in their opinions, many of whom accused the media and liberal politicians of a vendetta against the vice president.

Here is a sampling of Quayle-related comments -- good, bad, ugly, and (mostly) anonymous.


* "Seems a while back everybody thought George Bush had a big problem and nobody thought that he was of presidential quality. . . . Now it's been proved that they were very wrong. I think the same thing would be proved of Dan Quayle if he ever became president."

* "He appears to be a clean-living young man, and that's more than I can say for some members of Congress -- I'm talking about Ted Kennedy, who shouldn't even be allowed to walk by the Senate Office Building."

* "It is because of him that we had the Patriot missiles that won for us the gulf war, and if it wasn't for him, we may not have had that missile. . . . Dan Quayle inadvertently won the war for us."

* "I've been to several events where Quayle has spoken. I find him to be very articulate and knowledgeable about what's going on about various matters today."

* "Dan Quayle is qualified to be president. . . . He voted for the Patriot missile defense system and he showed the political savvy to see through the propaganda machine generated by Mikhail Gorbachev."

* "He certainly has qualifications better than Lyndon Johnson or even Harry Truman, and in my opinion is at least the equivalent of Kennedy."

* "I think that Quayle was a good senator. I think that he's getting a bad rap from these comedians around the country."

* "He has served very well in the Senate and has done quite a bit of work for the president around this country and in foreign counties."

* "I have seen Dan Quayle on two of Larry King's programs on CNN, and on both occasions he was very articulate and very knowledgeable."

* "Bush was not thought of as a great vice president, and I think he's been a super president. . . . I think [Quayle] would do very well, and should follow Bush in his second term and, if necessary, become president. We would all be very proud of him."

* "If John Kennedy could be president, so could Quayle."

* "Dan Quayle is as qualified as he was when the president nominated him to be vice president."

* "I think Quayle is basically as qualified as anyone else around. The fact that he was considered a political lightweight, the fact that he was a wealthy boy, I don't think is very different from many other people we've seen before."

* "Dan Quayle is a person who has as much experience and as much ability as any of the other jerks that are sitting there in Congress right now."

* "I've never heard any substantial information that would indicate that he is not qualified."


* "This attack on Dan Quayle is nothing but a blatant vicious attempt by the liberal establishment to attack a very solid, conservative Christian leader in the federal government. . . . If the liberal media and liberal politicians continue in this tirade, they will lose all credibility with the decent American middle class that believes in traditional family values."

* "I think the media stinks. I think that they should leave things the way they ought to be and not come in and try to make the public side their way."

* "The so-called issue of Dan Quayle's competency is merely an attempt by the liberal press and political establishment to discredit the agenda of George Bush and indirectly of Ronald Reagan because they disagree with his political views, not because he is in fact incompetent."

* "I think Mr. Quayle has received very bad press because the press has to have someone to pick on."

* "You card-carrying liberals should get off of Mr. Quayle's back."

* "The . . . people who raise the concerns about Dan Quayle's qualifications are the press people who think themselves to be the leaders of public opinion, when in reality they're so far out of touch of true public opinion they don't know what's going on."

* "If it wasn't for the press, we wouldn't have any doubts for Quayle."

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