Sunday, October 06, 2013

Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy

By Richard K. Barry

This weekend marks 25 years since Democratic vice presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen landed one of the most memorable knockout blows in political debate history. Republican VP candidate Dan Quayle set the chain of events in motion by comparing himself to Jack Kennedy as a way to describe why he felt he might be ready to assume the top job, should it come to that. 

Pick whatever metaphor you like. A commentator at the time said that if it had been a boxing match, the referee would have stopped the fight. 

One of the greatest skills in politics is to make it seem that your comments are off-the-cuff when in fact they are well rehearsed. My guess is that someone figured out that Quayle was going to go there and Bentsen was waiting for him to do it.

You almost feel sorry for Quayle.

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  • I worked on the Dukakis campaign. And I have always really disliked Dan Quayle. But even at the time, I hated Bentsen's line. I did feel sorry for Quayle and I thought Bentsen's came off as a bully. After that comment, Quayle said something like, "That was unnecessary, Senator." (Uncalled for?) Which I thought was about right. As it was, Bentsen destroyed Quayle in the debate. The line literally was unnecessary, although it is all that anyone remembers Bentsen for now.

    By Blogger Frank Moraes, at 11:49 AM  

  • "almost' only counts in horseshoes & hand grenades!

    By Blogger Kay Dennison, at 9:55 PM  

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