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Quayle Season – 1988

Feeding Frenzy Vice President George Bush's selection of little known Indiana U.S. Sen. Dan Quayle as his Republican running mate in 1988 proved to be one of the most controversial vice presidential choices in history. In fact, most major news organizations devoted far more resources to investigating rumors about Quayle than about the two presidential candidates.

Within hours of Bush's announcement, Quayle was embroiled in a melee with the media about his Vietnam War service in the National Guard. The inquiry into whether Quayle's wealthy family pulled strings by gaining him admission to the Guard, thereby helping him avoid combat, nearly became a press riot at times.

Other mini-"scandals," some related to the Guard issue and some not, erupted as well, including Quayle's poor academic record, his admission to law school in spite of his college grades, and a golf trip to Florida where participants included the lobbyist-seductress Paula Parkinson. Rumors of purported Quayle wrongdoing – from youthful drug use to college plagiarism – also occasionally reached print without a shred of supporting evidence.

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© Copyright 1998 Larry J. Sabato

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