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Dan Quayle's 'Potatoe' Incident – 1992

Feeding Frenzy A minor slip-up by Vice President Dan Quayle hatched a frenzy and a long-running joke. Quayle led a spelling bee for sixth-grade students while visiting an elementary school in New Jersey in 1992. Working from an inaccurate flash card prepared by a teacher, he corrected William Figueroa, 12, when the child spelled "potato" on the blackboard – making the boy add an unnecessary "e" at the word's end.

Quayle would never hear the end of it. The media assault for this goof was truly relentless. The young Figueroa crystallized the effects of this incident on Quayle's public image when he said that it "showed that the rumors about the vice president are true – that he's an idiot."


Feeding Frenzy Main Page

© Copyright 1998 Larry J. Sabato

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