|QUAYLE BOWS OUT|
September 27, 1999
NewsHour regular Paul Gigot of The Wall Street Journal and David Broder of The Washington Post, analyze former Vice President Dan Quayle’s withdrawal from the 2000 presidential race.
JIM LEHRER: Dan Quayle says good-bye: We begin with excerpts from his announcement today in Phoenix, Arizona.
DAN QUAYLE: Today our campaign is really in a rather unique position, because the most recent national poll, the CNN/"Time" poll, shows us in second place, finally beginning to emerge as the clear alternative to the front-runner.
Never before have we had a Republican primary like we are having today. The front-runner apparently will have up to $100 million to spend in the Republican primary. And after New Hampshire-- this is a very important point, and it was very critical in my decision-- there will be 18 primaries within 30 days of the New Hampshire primary. If I would win the New Hampshire primary, which I think I had a reasonable chance of doing, looking at the amount of money that I would have to raise and the calendar of these primaries, it became a very difficult proposition. There would be little time for reflection on what we had just achieved. There would not be sufficient time to raise the resources to be competitive in states like California, New York, Ohio, Michigan-- major expensive states. And so, reality set in.
There's a time to stay and there's a time to fold. There is a time to know when to leave the stage. Thus today I am announcing that I will no longer be a candidate for President of the United States.
I am going to work to unite this party. I will support the nominee of the Republican Party. I want to see the Republicans recapture the White House. It is time that we restore honor, dignity, and decency to the Oval Office. I am an optimist-- always have been, always will be. As Marilyn and I journey on to a different life, at a different pace, we do it with our heads held high. I am proud of what I have accomplished. I'm proud of my family. I'm thankful for the opportunities that I have had to get my ideas out there, and I am going to continue to fight for those ideas.
|Overcoming the stereotype|
JIM LEHRER: And to NewsHour regular Paul Gigot of the Wall Street Journal and David Broder of the Washington Post.
David, why didn't it work for Dan Quayle?
DAVID BRODER: I think two reasons, Jim. First of all, as soon as Governor Bush let it be known that he was going to run, Dan Quayle lost whatever chance he had to be the establishment candidate, being George Bush's senior - vice president - didn't stand up against being President Bush's son. And the second thing was that the battering that his reputation had taken from the moment that President Bush announced him as his surprise choice for Vice President right through -
JIM LEHRER: Back in 1988, you mean?
DAVID BRODER: That is right. Through those four years, he became the butt of late-night television jokes and cartoons, and the Republican conservatives, who shared many of his views, and admired Quayle's courage in fighting for those positions, nevertheless, felt that he couldn't be elected, and they're desperately eager to elect a President next year.
JIM LEHRER: Paul, what would you add to that?
PAUL GIGOT: I think to underscore David's second point - the Republican electorate is in a very pragmatic mood. It wants to win. And time and again I talked to voters who say, good man, Dan Quayle, good ideas, good experience, he'll never overcome that media stereotype. And, therefore he can't win and this year, I want to win. And what happens then is that he goes out to raise money, and the people who write $1,000 checks, or $500 checks, say, I like you, but I just can't do it. And so he found himself on the short end of fund-raising, and even if he won New Hampshire, as some of his advisers think, because of organization, they were looking at that stiff, shortened calendar, 18 contests in 30 days, and they said, we can't win.
JIM LEHRER: But, Paul, the world is -- history is full -- political history is full of people who were down and had worse things said about them than were ever said about Dan Quayle, and they recovered; they came back. Look at Richard Nixon. I mean, there's a whole list of them that you and David could add to. Why was Quayle unable to do this?
PAUL GIGOT: Partly I think it's this year. The Republican electorate is in a pragmatic mood. It does want to win this year more than some others. I think also the -- we have such a media-drenched political culture now that I'm not so sure that if Richard Nixon had taken the beating that Dan Quayle has. The Hotline, which is an insider publication, said that he purged his database and said that he found -- had been the butt of a thousand late-night jokes, and Dan Quayle had to take that consistently, time and again, in a way that I don't think a Richard Nixon, for example, had to 30 or 40 years ago. So I think it's very hard nowadays once a stereotype forms about you to change that stereotype unless some big event intervenes, and it's hard to do that when you're Vice President, which isn't exactly a job where you can take the initiative and change people's minds. And he was Vice President and was never able to overcome that initial problem he had, as David pointed out.
|Campaigning off the stage|
JIM LEHRER: David, there are stereotypes and there are stereotypes. Was there any validity to the stereotype that centered on Dan Quayle? You and Bob Woodward did a lot of work on him, did a long series of articles. I think that came out in book form, did it not?
DAVID BRODER: And Quayle is a more substantial person and a better campaigner than he was given credit for. During the four years that he was Vice President he did some serious work on deregulating business and on the space program. But it never caught up with the jokes about him. Jim, I think there's a difference between being widely despised or criticized, as Richard Nixon was, and in being ridiculed. You can overcome being disliked and despised, but it's very hard to overcome that steady barrage of ridicule.
JIM LEHRER: Did you believe, or did you perceive this time, David, that when Dan Quayle announced, when he decided to run for President this time, that he really believed he could get the nomination and be elected?
DAVID BRODER: Well, as he said himself, he is an optimist, and, you know, he'd won some big upset victories in Indiana. He took out an incumbent Democratic congressman in his home district around Fort Wayne. He took out Birch Bayh, who was one of the best campaigners the Democrats have ever seen in Indiana in a Senate race in 1980. He thought he could overcome odds. But there's one other factor I think that we ought to mention. Dan Quayle decided in 1996 not to run for governor of Indiana, as many of his friends there were urging him to do. He thought that it would be an advantage to be out of political office. He told me the last time we sat down and had a really frank conversation a few months ago that he now realizes that was a big mistake of judgment, that without a title in front of your name, it's very hard to stay in the news.
JIM LEHRER: He was, do you agree with that, Paul, he was off the stage too long?
PAUL GIGOT: Yes, I watched his speech in Ames, Iowa at the straw poll next to a Forbes advisor, and he listened to the speech, and he said, you know, that was really good. And if Dan Quayle had be delivering that speech for the last four years, every day and doing some of the legwork he needed to do, he might have been doing a little bit better now than he was but he did leave Indiana and go to Phoenix. He did leave the stage somewhat and opened the door for some other people.
JIM LEHRER: He also, as David said, did not hold office during, he not over left the state; he didn't hold office.
PAUL GIGOT: There were a lot of people urging him to run for governor of Indiana and I asked him in August whether he thought he should, might have in retrospect, in hindsight run and he said, maybe, which is interesting for a politician.
JIM LEHRER: From a practical point of view, David, what effect is this likely to have, is withdrawal likely to have on the Republican race?
PAUL GIGOT: Well, he was competing with Steve Forbes and Gay Bauer for the religious conservatives, they will now take advantage of that. But I think the biggest effect is likely to be in New Hampshire, where he had the support of Former Governor John Sununu, the White House chief of staff in the early years of the Bush administration and he had a potential, a shot at least of being the endorsed candidate of the Manchester Union leader. Now that newspaper is probably looking for a new candidate and conservatives who were inclined to follow John Sununu are looking for a new candidate up there.
|The 'other' elected candidate|
JIM LEHRER: Now, Paul, the other news of the day as everybody -- is no surprise here but that John McCain has said -- made it official he is definitely going to run for the nomination. Where does that fit into this now readjusted race?
PAUL GIGOT: Well, with Dan Quayle out, John McCain is now the only other candidate, other than George W. bush, in this race who has held elected office. Believe that. Everybody else is either appointed office or never held office before. That makes him a substantial person and a man of experience. But he has got a very uphill climb just like the rest of them do with George W. Bush's big fund-raising advantage, big poll advantage. It's going to be very hard for everybody and I think he's compounding his problems, Sen. McCain, frankly, by staying out of Iowa. He has made a strategic decision that he can skip that caucus, go right to New Hampshire. That's never been done successfully in presidential politics, so he would be the first.
JIM LEHRER: Yeah, well, David, you are just off the McCain campaign bus, are you not?
DAVID BRODER: That's right.
JIM LEHRER: That is your campaign bus uniform you have on there, right?
DAVID BRODER: Jim, the announcement that the McCain people are hoping for someday is the announcement that Elizabeth Dole is giving up the race. Former Senator Warren Rudman of New Hampshire, his main backer up there told me on the plane going up to New Hampshire that if Elizabeth Doles gets out of this race, we have a real chance against Bush up here because she is competing with McCain for those mainstream Republican votes who are not already locked up by Governor Bush.
JIM LEHRER: And are not part of the conservative wing, the people you were just talking about.
DAVID BRODER: Exactly right.
JIM LEHRER: Do you read it is same way, Paul?
PAUL GIGOT: I do, I think he would love to have that happen because Steve Forbes is trying to coalesce the right particularly with Dan Quayle out and Pat Buchanan running off to reform. So, McCain would love to make it a two-man race among the party regulars, the establishment, with Governor Bush.
JIM LEHRER: Are there enough of them to defeat a right candidate?
PAUL GIGOT: I think so. I mean, I think as I said earlier, this is an unusual year with a lot of Republicans saying more than purity of on the issues, I want somebody who can win and who has the right biography and the right character to replace a fellow in the White House we don't particularly admire.
JIM LEHRER: Well, thank you both. David, you look terrific without a coat and tie. I have never seen you like this before. But you look pretty good, thank you both very much.