BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Former Vice President Dan Quayle, author of "Standing Firm", near the end of your book you write the following: "During those four years, Marilyn and I came to realize the many ways in which the media are like sheep. The people in the upper echelons of the national press corps are very homogeneous. They hang around with one another, they look alike and they have, to a great extent, come from the same backgrounds." Why did you say that?
DAN QUAYLE, AUTHOR, "STANDING FIRM": It's true. It's very true. I grew up in a newspaper family, and one of the surprising aspects about the media is, at the upper echelons it is a very homogeneous crowd. They have similar ideologies, they now have similar backgrounds. They don't have the blue-collar background that many of the working journalists used to have in the past. They've gone to the Ivy League schools. They've known each other. It's very much of a crowd. The one surprising element -- it happened to me; it's happened to other people -- that when one reporter goes in a direction that looks like a good story, they all just follow, and it's the same line, the same theme. Yet we have the First Amendment, we have a free press, and you'd think we might have a diversified press, but we really don't. I talk a lot about the media, and I wrote about it extensively in the book and that was my concluding shot.
LAMB:You write about Eugene Pulliam. Who was he?
QUAYLE: Gene Pulliam was my grandfather. He was an independent publisher; a very intelligent, tough individual. He had a tremendous amount of influence on me, on my mother and my father, our whole family. He at one time was recognized by the Boys Clubs of America and presented the Horatio Alger Award. He went from rags to riches, but he did it the old-fashioned way -- he earned it. He was probably one of the last of his kind. He actually, as the publisher, ran the newsroom. You couldn't do that today. You have the Newspaper Guild, you have certain responsibilities. He and Bill Loeb of the Manchester Union were two of a kind. They literally would say what was going to be on those front pages, call up the reporters and say, "I think that this is a good angle of the story." I mean, it's unheard of today. But he was a person that started out as a son of an itinerant Methodist minister in the plains of Kansas and worked his way up to being a very well-respected newspaper publisher and one of the people that made a real impact in the media and the newspaper business when he was around.
LAMB:Did he start in Indianapolis?
QUAYLE: He actually got his start in Franklin, Indiana. You know Indiana quite well. It's just south of Indianapolis. Lebanon, Ind., and Franklin, Ind., I think, were his first papers. At one time he owned 50 newspapers, and he owned a number of radio stations. He never got into television, and he sold all of his radio stations because he didn't want the FCC coming in and looking at his books. He was a very private person. He was very skeptical of government. He was way ahead of his time when he wrote a front page editorial in the Indianapolis Star-News and the Phoenix papers, talking about the threat of the federal bureaucracy. As a matter of fact, I used to have that editorial hung in my Senate office because I thought it was a very poignant piece and pointed out the problem with the federal bureaucracy. He also ended up, as I said, selling all of his radio stations, and he sold most of his newspapers to his employees. I think there are seven papers that are still part of Central Newspapers, which is in a trust fund that he left, and it's being run by three trustees today. But he was a person of immense intellect and immense integrity and somebody that had a great influence on not only his family but the people that knew him.
LAMB:What is the relationship in your family?
QUAYLE: Gene Pulliam was my mother's father, and so he was my maternal grandfather.
LAMB:Are you involved today in these newspapers?
QUAYLE: I am on the board of directors of Central Newspapers, and that's all.
LAMB:Were you ever a reporter?
QUAYLE: Yes. I was not only a reporter, I started out delivering newspapers. I had a motor route when I was 16 and 17 years old. It was good income, very good income, in those days. I was able to pay for my Ford that I drove in the afternoons. It's an afternoon paper and early on Sunday morning. I also worked in the pressroom, and I worked in the days when we had hot metal rather than the offset press that you have today, which is cold type. I also was a cub reporter. I used to cover the police beat; I covered the planning commissions. I was associate publisher of the Huntington newspaper, which is my father and mother's newspaper in Huntington, Indiana, circulation of 9,000, I believe. It might be 9,100 today. I wrote editorials, I did the whole ball of wax. I started out in the pressroom and ended up in the newsroom and writing editorials. So I've done it all.
LAMB:In the acknowledgements for your book you thank a lot of people, but you say, "I'd also like to thank the press -- well, some of them -- specifically Bob Woodward, Michael Barone, David Broder, Britt Hume, Dan Rather, Mark Shields and Len Downey. All of them sat down with me as I worked on this book, offering valuable reflections upon my unique experience with the fourth estate." When did you do that, and how long did you spend with them?
QUAYLE: I would guess I had spent anywhere from an hour and a half to two and a half hours with each person. It took place over a period of time of about two or three months. It was an opportunity for me to ask them some questions about themselves, about how they covered me, about the media. I think I quote almost every one of them in the book. Each one offered a different insight and a different viewpoint, but there was a lot of similarities. The one striking thing that came through time and time again was -- well, it was just these first impressions because I always asked them the question. I said, "Look, you know me. You've seen me as vice president. You saw me as senator. What happened? How did this train get so far off the track?" And it came back to those first few days in the 1988 campaign, the first impressions. It's an important lesson to learn and to appreciate the impact on how important first impressions really are. You know how it is when you meet someone and sort of size them up, and sometimes your first impressions are right and sometimes they are wrong. But in politics, and especially in a national campaign, first impressions are most important. Unfortunately for me, the first impression that many had, and certainly most Americans who saw it via the media, was very negative, and I write about it in the book. In 1988, Brian, it was a political victory for me. I was elected vice president of the United States, but, as I say, it was a personal defeat.
LAMB:Did you tape-record those interviews?
QUAYLE: No, I didn't. I took notes. I had a reporter's notebook for some of them, and at other times I had just a piece of paper. In most cases I actually called them back and read what I was going to write about them in the book. I think they were surprised that I did that. I didn't do it with all of them, but I did it with most of them. As a matter of fact, I offered it to one in particular, and he said, "No, it's not necessary. I trust you. Go ahead and write whatever you want to." But the ones I did call back, because I told them I was going to, they were surprised to hear. I actually had Anne Hathaway call back and read them exactly what was in the manuscript. One of them said, "Well, I'm not sure that I said it exactly that way, but probably." And I said, "No, my notes reflect this," so I left it in. But I gave them an opportunity to really sort of quibble with what I had to say. One of them said this, and I won't give them the name, he said, "Yes, I did say that, but I wish I hadn't."
LAMB:Did anybody refuse to talk to you about this?
QUAYLE: No, they didn't.
LAMB:Did you find yourself ever arguing with them in the middle of these interviews?
QUAYLE: I don't think it was an argumentative type of situation, but clearly I had some very pointed questions to ask them. It was, in a way, not turning the tables on them, but it was my opportunity to ask the questions and let them do the talking, because in the past most of them, not all of them, had interviewed me, and when they interviewed me they asked the questions and I did the talking. So it was sort of nice to sit back and to listen and take notes. There was a couple of points I wanted to get. I wanted to find out why, as I said, the train got off the track. I wanted to find out why the media really got this caricature. I wanted to find out why the media was unwilling to change this caricature. I wanted to focus on the Woodward-Broder articles, because the Woodward-Broder articles, to me, were not that flattering. As a matter of fact, I've gone back and read them recently, and I tell you, I will not recommend that to my friends nor to my family to read.
LAMB:It's now a book.
QUAYLE: It's now a book, but at the time it was considered to be, as Dan Rather said, a valentine, which was, in my opinion, absolutely outrageous. Why was this Broder-Woodward series treated the way that it was? I really focused on that and I wanted to get all the reporters and interviewers to respond to that. So I had about three or four different questions.
LAMB:What year was that series?
QUAYLE: That was published in January of 1992, right before the New Hampshire primary.
LAMB:And how long was it? How many article?
QUAYLE: It was a seven-series, seven articles in the Washington Post which turned out to be, as you said, a book, a several-hundred-page book.
LAMB:I've got a bunch of that underlined. You said, "Before the whole series had even run, Dan Rather trashed it in a radio commentary." Let me just keep reading. "Broder" -- David Broder of the Washington Post -- "called him to ask why he didn't at least wait until all seven parts appeared, and Rather said he didn't need to. He could tell where it was going."
QUAYLE: Yes, and he told me that.
LAMB:What was your chemistry when you sat down and interviewed Dan Rather?
QUAYLE: With Rather? I know Dan Rather and I had met him a couple of times in the past. I called up to get the appointment, and we had breakfast in New York and spent a couple hours. One of the times that I had met with him -- I write about it in the book -- was with a number of CBS executives, if you will, during the Desert Storm Persian Gulf crisis, and I was quite impressed with his understanding of the military situation, because I write in the book, "I'm sure glad Saddam Hussein wasn't listening to Dan Rather, because if he had followed Rather's logic, Saddam Hussein could have been a lot tougher competitor for us." Rather was very straightforward with me. He'd told me, "Look, at CBS we knew that you were a contender. We had our top 50, if you will, before George Bush made his selection. You weren't necessarily one or two, but we knew that you were certainly in the field." He told me this. He said, "We formed our impression very early on," and part of his impression was formed through Jim Baker and others that sort of with body English said, "Well, this is not necessarily a great choice that George Bush made," and that was all that they needed. When you had people at that level of the campaign sort of through a wink or a nod or rolling their eyes, that's all that Rather really needed to go with some very tough, negative and, I thought, quite unfair stuff against me. The conversation I had with him was quite pleasant. I was very direct with him and he was very direct with me. It would be interesting to see what he would say about me today publicly. I don't know whether he'll comment or not comment. He's a journalist; he's not a politician, and he doesn't have to comment about me necessarily unless someone would ask him the question. But I would imagine that he would understand and appreciate the contributions that I made as vice president, and I would hope -- although I don't know -- I would hope that he would say, "Yes, the caricature that was formed was really not a correct one, though maybe at the time it was okay to create that caricature, but it really wasn't an accurate one." But in the scheme of things, we don't really care that much about vice presidents. We care about presidents.
LAMB:Has anybody called or written you to complain in the media about your characterization of the media in this book?
QUAYLE: This has been the surprising aspect of this book in the book reviews, because -- and you've pointed out a couple of things -- I am very critical of the media. I basically say that the caricature that was formed was not only untrue but it was unfair; that there was an ideological problem, there was a generational problem, there was this searing experience in Huntington, Indiana, when right after the convention George Bush and I went back to my hometown where we had all the people from Indiana on my side against the media. I go into all these things -- you read the concluding chapter that I had about the media -- and to this day there has not been any response from the media, saying, "Oh, yes, we were right about Dan Quayle." They know that they weren't. Now we have to turn the page. This book had to be written. It had to be written for me to be able to set the record straight. Serious journalists will admit that that caricature was just totally out of bounds.
LAMB:On page 65, Meg Greenfield coined the phrase "a deer caught in the headlights."
QUAYLE: That famous phrase.
LAMB:Did you ever see yourself on television during that time and say, "I do look like a deer caught in the headlights"?
QUAYLE: Well, I wouldn't have used that particular description, but I know exactly what she was saying. What I did notice, and I write about this in the book, that there was a certain hesitation on my part. A camera can be very revealing because it gets right in your face, and they love to get as close as they can. They can see it in your eyes; they can see it in body language whether you have confidence, whether you are sure of yourself, and, as I write on the book, one of the very fundamental mistakes that I made in 1988 -- a valuable lesson in politics; a valuable lesson in life -- I quit trusting myself, Brian. I'll never do it again. I got into politics at a young age, successful running for the House, for the Senate, nominated as vice president for my party at the age of 41, and yet the bombardment that I received from the media and the negative treatment, it put me off stride.
For the first time in my life I was not that confident, comfortable person that I'd always been, and I did hesitate. Instead of trusting myself, which I should have done and I did in the 1992 campaign, I trusted others. So "the deer in the headlights" came from the camera, I'm convinced; the camera picking up a little bit of that hesitation and lack of inner confidence that I unfortunately endured through this very harsh, unfair, untrue treatment that I was receiving.
This was my introduction to the American people. I was a vice-presidential candidate, not presidential candidate. That was another thing I had actually going against me because it wasn't my agenda. It was George Bush's agenda, and the only thing I cared about at the time was not my reputation, it was not my standing in the polls, it was not what Dan Rather and others were saying about me; it was, how is George Bush doing? I think that also contributed a little bit to this hesitation that was noticed in the 1988 campaign.
LAMB:Of all the people you met with, did you come out of any two-hour session with any of these reporters that you mentioned, saying, "They're just not what I thought they were"?
QUAYLE: Probably the one that I didn't know that well and had only met that impressed me with his candor and one of the persons that was just totally pure in trying to get to objectivity was Len Downey of the Washington Post.
LAMB:The top guy?
QUAYLE: The managing editor of the Washington Post. He didn't tell me this, but I know his personal ideology is not mine. He is far more liberal than I am. But what surprised me, and what was striking about him, and we talked about this, where he encourages -- he doesn't encourage, he tells his reporters, "Get your emotions out of the story," that you cannot write stories from emotion, that you have to understand, get the facts and analyze the facts, but to try to get the emotions out of it. He said one of the problems that they have had at the Washington Post is to deal with this very sensitive issue of abortion because most of the people at the Post, or probably 90 percent, are pro-choice. I don't know if they have many pro-life staff reporters at the Washington Post. It's an emotional issue, and that's a hard one. I could see how he was grappling with this to be fair and to be objective. That was very impressive to me. He graduated, I think, from Ohio State University, from the Midwest, and I didn't know him that well but I was impressed with his zeal to be fair and to be objective.
LAMB:Did he talk to you about the fact that he does not vote?
QUAYLE: He didn't, but I knew that.
LAMB:What do you think of that idea, of having a reporter who says, "I won't vote because then I don't have to worry about my emotions"?
QUAYLE: He did not tell me that and we did not talk about it. I knew that. I would disagree with that. I think he should vote. That would be my advice to him. But that's the purity of the person, and I was just struck by his tenacity toward objectivity and to being fair.
LAMB:I've got a lot of stuff written down here that I want to ask you about. Sam Donaldson, page 322, "His blatant bias was never more in evidence." I just wrote that down. You've been on that show since you wrote this. Had he read that when you met with him?
QUAYLE: Yes. I'm sure he had because he told me that he read the book. I said, "Well, Sam, did you like the book?" and he said, "I enjoyed it." And I said, "Did you like it?" and he said, "I enjoyed it," and we just left it at that. What I was referring to there was the way that he and others -- and he did it on "Prime Time" -- just pilloried me and ridiculed me for the so-called Murphy Brown speech, saying that this was a huge mistake, that this was a gaffe, that the vice president talking about an intact family being the model and criticizing or suggesting that illegitimacy is wrong -- which I didn't do. I just said that a child born to an unwed mother has a greater chance to live in poverty. That's not a political statement; that is a fact. That is just a hard, cold statistic. Sam Donaldson at the time just absolutely came unhinged. Bill Clinton makes about the same type of a speech and others have been on the David Brinkley show almost paraphrasing my speech, and Donaldson sort of sits back and says, "Well, you know, this is very important." So, there was just something there that he has to deal with, not me.
LAMB:I wrote this down: "Maureen Dowd, who writes for the New York Times, doesn't let the facts get in her way."
QUAYLE: She has written a number of articles about me, and I read that and I go, "Well, where does she get that?"
LAMB:She came into the pressroom at the White House with the famous painting The Scream on a t-shirt.
QUAYLE: Yes, the famous painting with the scream. The painting was recently stolen and then has now been found and returned. But it was a scream of a person in hysteria.
LAMB:With your name on it.
QUAYLE: With my name present. It was obviously a cheap, partisan shot. I can imagine if a New York Times reporter would go into the pressroom with a Slick Willy t-shirt on, what would the response be from the New York Times editors? I would imagine that reporter would be fired or certainly reprimanded, but since it was Maureen Dowd, and [considering] her standing with the New York Times editors and her superiors, that's okay. Well, you're dealing with Dan Quayle, so that's a different standard, but if they had done it to Bill Clinton or to Al Gore, I guarantee you that the New York Times editors should in some way say, "Look, don't show your bias in public like that. If you have to do it, you can do it in your home or when you go out," but in the newsroom of the White House? I mean, I just thought that was totally out of bounds, and not a peep from the New York Times hierarchy.
LAMB:What was writing this book and then making the road trip like?
QUAYLE: You mean the book tour?
QUAYLE: Well, the book took me about 16 months to write. It was time-consuming. I first sat down right after the election, in November of 1992, and wrote about a five-page outline and stuck to the outline -- again, first impressions. This is what I wanted to write about, and this is what I did write about. I ended up, once we got the first draft and the four major rewrites, and on the last rewrite I spent six days in hotel rooms with my senior editor at Harper-Collins, three days in New York, three days here in Washington . . .
LAMB:Who is that?
QUAYLE: Rick Horigan. We spent 18-hour days -- 20 minutes for breakfast, 20 minutes for lunch, 20 minutes for dinner. It was an exhaustive process. Once the book was completed it was just a sense of relief, but I'll tell you, Brian, and my publishers will tell you, I had a very hard time letting go of it because I wanted to make sure that everything was just perfect. I didn't want any mistakes. I was very careful about the choice of words, as you can see. It's a very difficult book to write. It was difficult to write about your friends and a difficult book to write about your colleagues and the people that you like and have worked with very closely. It's easy to write about your critics. You just sort of have at it. You don't really care that much. You care about the people that have been close to you. So, it was a tough book to write.
LAMB:Did you write it yourself?
QUAYLE: Those are my words, absolutely.
LAMB:Did you type it out or write it out longhand?
QUAYLE: What I did, as I said, I had a five-page outline, and then I expanded that outline to 15 or 20 pages. Then I sat down with another person, put in about, I suppose, 100 hours on tape. That was then given to a transcriber, and that part was cleaned up and made grammatically correct and everything. That became the first draft, and from that we had four major rewrites. The last one I just described to you with Rick Horigan, the senior editor of Harper-Collins, with me. But there are a number of other people who were involved before he was involved at the very end.
LAMB:I wrote down some of the things you said. I want to ask you about them. Warren Rudman, "a bit of a know-it-all."
QUAYLE: Well, I also say that Warren Rudman was very well respected in the United States Senate, and he was. You know Warren, I know Warren, and he is very comfortable with his knowledge. He has a lot of it. He's a friend. He'll take that as a compliment.
LAMB:And there are a lot of other things.
QUAYLE: It's friendly.
LAMB:But did you consciously say, "I'm going to be criticizing these people or saying some strong things," and worry about what their reaction would be?
QUAYLE: Well, as far as Warren's case, I've told him that just in a conversation like this, and it's not going to be a surprise, I don't think, to him or to anyone else. But what I also said about Warren is that he had a tremendous amount of respect on both sides of the aisle, so he ought to be very pleased with what I said about him.
LAMB:You said that Jack Kemp disappointed you. That's been reported a lot. You said that Bob Dole was often briefed about the news, and he didn't read about the news. What did you mean by that?
QUAYLE: Bob Dole, like a lot of senators, gets information through briefings. He does read as well. He read quite a bit. But what I was trying to point out is that a majority leader, at one time, and a minority leader, that there is a very hurried pace, and that important and respected people like Bob Dole, as far as information, how important briefings are and to get the briefings from the staff. That's not unusual. But the reason I put it in there, I just wanted the reader to get a glimpse of how important political figures gain their information, and it was not said in any kind of a critical way of Bob Dole. As a matter of fact, I've got tremendous respect for Bob Dole, and he's been a dear friend and my leader for a number of years.
LAMB:You wrote about your own staff, David Beckwith: "Selling me was the essence of David Beckwith's job" -- he was your press secretary -- "and I would constantly remind him not to buy into the press line of the day. In many ways as time went on, Dave would do his job quite well except when he let his temper get the best of him. But as I look back on the four years, I wonder if it really was such a good idea to have one of the media's own in the job of press secretary."
LAMB:That's an age-old question that's been around, and the reason I put it in the book is just to raise the question. The paragraph that you read is the important paragraph about Dave Beckwith, because he did serve me well and I said that he served me well. But you have this question about somebody that is a working journalist who moves into politics with the idea that they probably will go back to journalism -- not that they can't serve me loyally, because Dave Beckwith did serve me loyally and he was loyal to me and stood up for me in some very difficult times and I'm deeply appreciative to him for that. But there is this overall question on whether journalists can walk across that bridge, be part of the other side and then walk back.
I raise the question because it's a question that goes on in this town over and over again. There are a number of people who are working journalists, have been working journalists, who are now in the Clinton administration. It would be interesting to see if they go back or how well they do on the other side. It is a very delicate balance, and it's a very tricky bridge on which to cross.
LAMB:You indicate on a couple of occasions that Bill Kristol, who was your chief of staff, was either known by reputation or in fact was a great leaker.
QUAYLE: Well, he was somebody that has a lot of influence with the media. The media call him up quite a bit. He was always out pushing our agenda. It was good to have somebody like Bill Kristol out there, as I said at the end, fighting for me because in 1988 I didn't have that. In 1992 I did, and Bill did a very good job for me.
LAMB:Did it ever get you in trouble that he was a leaker?
QUAYLE: He always got blamed for a lot of the leaks in the White House, and leaks are something you never know where they come from.
LAMB:But they wanted to keep him out of meetings.
QUAYLE: Jim Baker did at the end. But Jim Baker, and we talk about leaks, I found it rather amusing and I wrote in the book that Jim Baker did not want Bill Kristol in these meetings because Bill Kristol might leak. Look, this game of leaking is played all the time and there are good leaks and there are bad leaks, and people like George Bush and myself, we hate leaks. But it goes on, and sometimes we'd say, "Well, do you think this ought to be leaked?" and you had a little wink. "Well, we don't like leaks," but all of a sudden it gets out. You have to have people talk to the press. It makes an easy story for the media to get a leak. And also, when they get a leak, it seems to have more credibility back in the newsrooms rather than somebody that's going to talk on the record.
For myself, and I think most vice presidents do this, when they talk to the press it's always on the record. They said, "Well, do you want to go off the record?" "No, I want to go on the record because what I'm going to tell you I would say off the record, as well." But your staff, that's the media's game. You have to play the media's game to have an influence, and Bill Kristol certainly has a tremendous amount of influence with the media in this town.
LAMB:You dedicate this book to your wife and your children.
QUAYLE: Yes, I do.
LAMB:The kids are Tucker, Benjamin and Corrine.
LAMB:How old is Tucker?
QUAYLE: Tucker will be 20 July 3, Ben will 18 Nov.5 and Corrine will be 16 -- she'll be driving -- on Nov. 27.
LAMB:And what is Mrs. Quayle doing now?
QUAYLE: Mrs. Quayle is practicing law. She is with Krieg, DuVault, Alexander and Kapart law firm in Indianapolis. She does corporate work, health care work, international work. She's enjoying it. She's back doing what she was doing before I entered politics and thoroughly enjoying it.
LAMB:You say in the book that there are rumors around that she might run for governor in 1996 in Indiana, "but that's a subject for another time." Why did you toss that out?
QUAYLE: Because it's been so much talked about. A number of people have inquired about whether she's going to run for governor of Indiana in 1996. Most people then say, "Well, what are you going to do?" and I say, "Well, why don't you just give us both some time." That's simply speculation. She is very much of a partner of mine. She's been my closest adviser for the 21 years that we have been married and will continue to be my closest adviser.
LAMB:Is it true -- I know it's true because you wrote about it -- that your son Tucker was the guy who was sent to listen to the late night shows and come back with the Quayle jokes?
QUAYLE: He took that responsibility on his own. He enjoyed it. He enjoys watching "Saturday Night Live," and I'd always get a report Sunday morning before we'd go to church on what "Saturday Night Live" was all about. He'd say, "Dad, you were on last night," and I'd say, "Oh, great. How was it?" "Well, some of it was funny, most of it wasn't." But he'd give me a report.
LAMB:Did it ever worry you that he was watching "Saturday Night Live" in the first place?
QUAYLE: No. I think all kids his age watch that. It's a good show. I've even watched it a couple of times.
LAMB:What about Quayle jokes? When did they get under your skin?
QUAYLE: You'd be surprised on how I was just able to block that out entirely. First of all, if I'm up late at night I watch "Nightline." I don't watch Jay Leno or David Letterman. I prefer to watch "Nightline." So I didn't watch these shows. You really don't have time to watch them. Furthermore, if you do and you sort of dwell on it, you're not going to be able to do your job. So I just blocked it out. Did I hear about them? Of course, I did. There are always summaries the next day, the White House summary, of the latest Quayle joke or the latest Bush joke or whatever -- Johnny Carson at the time. Whatever he was saying, people paid attention to, and it would make the rounds in the White House. Some of it, as Tucker, and Benjamin also was pretty good at this, would say, "Some of it is funny, Dad, and some of it's not."
LAMB:"When it came to buying Marilyn's and the children's inaugural clothes, she had her own solution. She sold the family van." Now, what was the motivation for you to put that in this book?
QUAYLE: Well, if you recall in this early caricature that was formed in the first few days of the 1988 campaign, I was, as Bob Novak said, "a $600-million man." I was worth $600 million. Well, Brian, a reporter could have walked up to the Capitol, gone into the Senate Ethics Committee or the Senate personnel committee -- one of the committees there; I don't even know who has custody of these records -- to find out in my Senate disclosure statement what I really was worth, because we have to file this every year, and they would have found out in 1986, 1987 -- I guess I hadn't filed 1988 yet, although I think the Bush campaign put it out -- go back 10 years and they would find out that my income was my salary from being a member of the Senate, plus about $10,000 of outside income which would include interest on savings accounts and dividends, etc. It was just so out of kilter that when we moved from McLean, Virginia into the vice president's house, not only did we have moving expenses but we had to buy clothes. We just didn't have any money. It was just that simple. It wasn't that we wanted to get rid of the van to buy inaugural clothes; it's just the fact that that's the way it was.
And I've put it in there just to show -- I'm not saying we were poor by any stretch of the imagination at all, but I just wasn't this wealthy, enormously wealthy person that the media tried to make it out, especially during the 1988 campaign where I was the one that was supposed to be wealthy, and I was running against Lloyd Bentsen. You ask most American people who has the wealth.
LAMB:"Eleven-year-old Ben had been hired by our neighbors down the street to walk their Rottweiler. That night while he was with the dog, a pack of reporters still in their death-watch mode followed him down the street and peppered him with questions."
QUAYLE: A great, great story.
LAMB:"'How is your dad doing? What's going on in your home? Has he made a decision?'" Now, where are we at this point?
QUAYLE: This is right after we returned from New Orleans and a few days on the campaign trail. This was right after the lowest moment, basically the lowest moment; certainly the lowest moment in my political life where I talked to Marilyn, "Should I get off the ticket?" We have a brief discussion and decide firmly no, because it would hurt George Bush, and nothing that they said was true anyway and the chapter closed. So it was right after that that Ben takes this dog down there, and he came back and regaled us with this story. The reporters were smart to back away.
LAMB:You go on to say, "When the press got a closer look at the Rottweiler they inquired, 'Is that dog dangerous?' Ben noticed that they were backing away. 'You come near me,' he said, 'and I'll sic my dog on you.'"
QUAYLE: He did. They backed away and they quit asking the questions. It's pretty smart for an 11-year-old kid.
LAMB:How much talking did you do to Benjamin? How old is Benjamin now?
QUAYLE: Ben will be 18 in November.
LAMB:And Tucker, and Corrine is 16 now. How much did you watch their reaction to all of this you were going through?
QUAYLE: Here is the way we approached that: We obviously watched it, and Marilyn monitored it very closely, especially at school. But what we did, Brian, by design, was at the dinner table or when we'd be with them, we very seldom would talk about politics. We simply just didn't discuss what was going on at the White House. Every once in a while we'd get into a discussion about, obviously, Saddam Hussein or Noriega or taxes, as I write about. Ben was the one who kept saying, "You guys are in trouble because you raised taxes. My friends at school are telling me that." I said, "Ben, hang on. We're going to be okay." So what we did, and I believe it was correct, was to talk about them and what they were doing at school, and Marilyn and I made an extraordinary effort to make their lives as common as possible. Now, obviously you can't do that in the environment in which they were, but we made very much of an effort, and I think it paid off.
LAMB:On page 190, "My successor, Al Gore, talks a lot about reinventing government and seems to think that he can accomplish that with a lot of town meetings and touchy-feely retreats for administrators." Is that written with a little bit of anger?
QUAYLE: Not anger, but it just describes that it's more than just having these touchy-feely types of meetings; that reinventing government is serious business and it's going to take a lot of work. What they want to do is to make government bigger and more expansive. We'd take it in the opposite direction.
LAMB:What do you think of him? You write at one point where when you meet him he kind of puffs his chest up.
QUAYLE: He does that. Ask him. I'm sure he'll admit it. Ask his staff and they'll tell you that he does that.
LAMB:Why does he do it?
QUAYLE: I have no idea. You'd have to ask him. But it's always something that senators and others that have been around him have always commented about, the way that he will come over and meet you.
LAMB:How well did you know him before you debated him?
QUAYLE: We were both elected to the Congress in 1976 and we're about the same age. Our families are similar. We were elected to the Senate at different times. I was elected in 1980, and I believe he came over in 1984. I knew him reasonably well, but not that well. I wasn't close to him at all. As a matter of fact, most of the contact outside the Senate that I had with him would be at family social events where he and Tipper would be there because of their children and Marilyn and I would be there because of our children. So, no, I did not know him that well.
LAMB:"My favorite 1993 tale of the extent to which the movie and TV establishment is out of touch with the country came when director Sidney Pollack accepted a bonus of a Mercedes on top of his whopping $5.5 million fee for directing "The Firm", a film he said was about the greed of the Reagan years."
QUAYLE: Absolutely. It's true, absolutely true, and the film was about the greed, and that might be a little bit greedy itself.
LAMB:Do you ever hear yourself, though, saying things and you say, "I don't really believe this," because you talk about in here, politicians always like win-win situations. What do you mean by win-win?
QUAYLE: That means whichever way that it's going to come out, whether it's a vote or a decision, that you want to be positioned where you can win either way. And Congress is famous for this. That's why I was convinced at the time of Desert Storm that they would eventually vote for resolution, authorizing us to do what we wanted to do because they would not want to assume the responsibility. They like to be in a win-win situation. They would be able to win if we went ahead and won the war, saying, "Oh, yes, we voted to let the president do it." But on the other hand, if we weren't successful they'd say, "Well, we gave them the authority and the executive branch botched it." It was a win-win situation for them. They would never accept the responsibility of denying the president to do what he wanted to do in that kind of a situation.
LAMB:But do you do that same thing yourself?
QUAYLE: Oh, I think everybody does that to some extent.
LAMB:Do you ever get mad at yourself when you find yourself -- I mean, do you get cynical about what you yourself are doing?
QUAYLE: Well, I try never to compromise on basic principles and basic values. You have to draw a line at certain places. But in politics, especially tactical politics, it's a very pragmatic approach from time to time. In dealing with the Congress there are tradeoffs, but there are certain basic principles and values that you can't trade off -- integrity, less taxes, less government, a strong defense. I mean, there are certain things that you just say, "Forget it, I'm not willing to compromise on that," and you have to stand firm.
LAMB:Speaking of taxes, you bring that up a lot, too. Do you think you would ever support a tax increase in your future if you ever got back into politics?
QUAYLE: I can't see ever supporting a tax increase because by the time 1996 rolls around taxes will be high, although I'll predict this, that Bill Clinton in 1995 will probably try to cut taxes. I don't know whether it will be a rollback on the marginal income taxes or if it will be Social Security taxes or capital gains taxes, but I guarantee you he will have some sort of a tax cut in 1995 or 1996. I am a fervent believer that government should be reduced, that reducing taxes creates a larger pie. You can call that supply-side economics or whatever. The truth of the matter is that if there are lower taxes there is more incentives. The markets work better, and wealth, opportunity and jobs are created. That's certainly my philosophy when it comes to economics.
LAMB:You write about the fact that you had to fire John Sununu.
QUAYLE: I didn't have to fire John Sununu, I had to talk to John Sununu that it was time to move on.
LAMB:"It's true that John used perks. He never did anything his predecessors hadn't done, but you can't push the limits when there are so many people out there whom you've angered or who you just don't like. One of the tasks I least relished in my four years as vice president was telling John Sununu that he had to go. That's what the president asked me to do after one of our weekly lunches in late 1991." And I think you also write about President Reagan asked Vice President Bush to fire somebody.
QUAYLE: To fire?
LAMB:Well, you know, use the word you want, but why can't chief executive officers sit down and say, "Time's up."
QUAYLE: Oh, I suppose you could, but you have to understand White House politics and what it's like to be in this sort of atmosphere, like crises, where it's a very unpleasant situation where the chief of staff is going to have to move on. John Sununu was intensely loyal to George Bush. He and Nancy are very dear friends. As a matter of fact, when John Sununu left, and I'm not saying that it was a wrong decision because the events just put it at that precipice that it had to change, but when John Sununu left things really started to unravel in the White House. That is a real point when the Bush administration started to sink. George Bush was asked by Ronald Reagan to do it to Don Regan. He asked me to do it with John Sununu. It's the atmospherics, and the way the White House works this is a much easier way to do it. It is a way that we both felt very comfortable. I wasn't surprised that the president asked me to do this, when it came down to it, because I could see this thing beginning -- or not beginning but building.
Unfortunately, as I said, John had very few friends in the White House, and the reason -- because he was totally loyal to the president. His agenda was the president's agenda, and other people in the White House, they had a dual agenda. They had the president's agenda, but they also had their own agenda. But not John Sununu. It was a loyalty to the president that the president understood and appreciated, and that's why it was very hard for all three of us.
LAMB:Would you do that the same way if you were chief executive?
QUAYLE: It's hard to answer a hypothetical question like that. I was not surprised that the president asked me to do this, and the way it was handled. As a matter of fact, this is the first time it's really come out, and this is an appropriate time to talk about it. Who knows? You might do things differently and you might do it the same way.
LAMB:I'm jumping all over the place because there are lots of little things I wanted to ask you about that I read in the book. In a meeting with Mike Wallace at some point you said that you would like to have rescinded the law that prohibited a chief executive or a president from ordering an assassination of a national leader.
QUAYLE: Covert operations that might end up in eliminating a head of state. It was at a CBS executives' meeting, which I talked about earlier, when Dan Rather went into a very reasonable, logical strategy for Saddam Hussein to pursue. Well, Mike Wallace asked me at this meeting, "Well, why don't you just lift or why don't you just go in and have a covert operation and get it over with?" And I looked at him, and I didn't know whether he was pulling my leg or trying to get me to say something that, "Oh, yes, we ought to do that," because I knew full well that, one, we had this executive order that prohibited that and, two, if I recall, CBS and, I don't know if it was Mike Wallace in particular but certainly the CBS news were very much with the Pike committee and the Church committee that pushed this line of thinking, and we have this order.
Now, what I write in the book is that we ought to just rescind it. I'm not saying that we ought to do it, but why should you be precluded from even thinking about it? And there may be some extraordinary circumstances, perhaps Iraq. We didn't think about it because we couldn't do it, and I'm not saying that we should have done it, but at least we could have put it into an option and say, "Well, here's something. Can we consider this?" I do not think that that executive order should stand. I think it should be rescinded, and let Bill Clinton have the opportunity to think about it. If he doesn't want to do it, that's fine.
LAMB:Did you go to the Gandhi funeral?
LAMB:Did I read that they crushed his skull?
QUAYLE: They take a stick -- yes, they do. They crush it.
LAMB:In front of you so you can see it?
QUAYLE: Well, we were probably a couple hundred feet away, but yes, you can see it, and the theory . . .
LAMB:Were you ready for that?
QUAYLE: I was told that this was going to happen, so I was as prepared as you could be. But the theory, at least as I was told, and I'm no expert on the Hindu religion, the theory is to allow the spirits to go to heaven.
LAMB:When you met with Mr. Gorbachev -- by the way, your feelings about Mr. Gorbachev?
QUAYLE: Mikhail Gorbachev was a person that was very charming. He and Ronald Reagan had this very good rapport, and he had a very good relationship with George Bush, as well. Gorbachev, as I write, is tactically brilliant. I mean, he can figure out how to get from one place to the next. If he wants to be somewhere next week, he'll figure out exactly how to get there and he'll be positioned correctly. But when it came to strategy and strategic thinking, he was really lacking.
You've got to realize, Gorbachev was a Communist. He was a Leninist, and Raisa was a very dedicated Leninist, and therefore all this Perestroika reform, etc., was simply rhetoric which was very pleasing to the international community. I don't know how much he really believed it. The true reformer was Yeltsin and that's why some people criticize us, and maybe somewhat justified, of hanging on to Gorbachev too long. It's a very delicate balancing act. But Yeltsin was the reformer. Yeltsin was the one that was democratically elected, and hopefully, I believe, President Clinton understands this, that it's important that Yeltsin stay on as long as possible because what is behind him is probably turning the clock back a little bit.
LAMB:In another instance you talked about being very much involved in the space council and being responsible for that. You say here -- and this is, again, out of context a bit -- "The other plan was NASA's and it had an IOC of 1999. This was never a realistic date, and Lenore knew it, but he had a scheme for getting Congress's okay and then stringing out the funding." What is that all about?
QUAYLE: Well, it was a discussion we had with NASA and with the Department of Defense, and we were trying to figure out when we could in fact get this moving forward. It was rather unbelievable where they say, "Well, an engine could just be blown up," and I just sort of looked and just went on, and everybody in the room sort of -- there was very much of a pause, and I said, "Well, that's not something that we're going to do." I put it in the book to show the arrogance of the bureaucrats and how much contempt that they really hold Congress and others in from time to time; that they feel that they can do whatever they want.
LAMB:I didn't get your answer earlier on this book tour. Before this is over, how many interviews do you think you will go through?
QUAYLE: Hundreds of interviews. We're going to 36 cities. It will conclude by July 5. Larry King told me, "By the time you conclude your book tour, you're going to want to talk about anything except your book." I'm enjoying talking about the book because, quite frankly, most of the interviews have been on politics rather than on the book, and so it's refreshing to be able to talk about the book, and that's what I would like to talk about.
LAMB:What is the most unusual question you can remember or situation as you've traveled around the country on this book? Does anything stick out or does it all come together?
QUAYLE: People will show up and stand in line for hours. I was in Philadelphia recently, and I always ask the first couple of people in line how long they've been there. The signing in Philadelphia was at 7 at night, and this young lady had been there since 9:30 in the morning. I mean, that's almost 10 hours. She said she got there at 9:30 because she was trying to attend one of my booksigning ceremonies in New York and couldn't get in because there were so many people there, and she wanted to have her book signed. Now, I'm just totally amazed on how much and how long people will stand and wait to talk to me briefly and have a book signed. I hadn't anticipated that.
LAMB:What do you think of the whole thing, of the process? Is it worth all the time you're spending on the book tour?
QUAYLE: I hope so. The publisher thinks so, Harper-Collins.
LAMB:But do you think so?
QUAYLE: Well, I will probably write another book, and I would imagine on the next book I will not commit to a 36-city tour. It's exhausting. The events are the same. I enjoy meeting the people, but it is very, very tiring. When you sign 2,000 books in one evening, you really have cramps in your hand and your forearm by the time you're leaving. It's a wonderful experience, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it, but I doubt if I'd do it as extensively the next time.
LAMB:Did you get a lot of your feelings out of your system? Was it cathartic?
QUAYLE: It was cathartic to write the book in many respects.
LAMB:Let me ask you, though, because we're running out of time, about this statement you make at the end of the book: You say, "I still give people the benefit of the doubt, but I no longer greet them with my former openness. After four years of relentless public abuse, I'm just relieved that the skepticism hasn't hardened into cynicism."
QUAYLE: And it hasn't. I am certainly a bit more skeptical.
LAMB:How are you no longer as open? How would I see it?
QUAYLE: There is another little passage in there, that a friend of mine once remarked that "Dan Quayle doesn't know someone can look him right in the eye and lie to him," and to some extent he was right because I am so believing in people. And I want to believe people, because people believe me. I'm a very honest, direct person, just like I wrote this book. It's a very candid, honest book about me, about others, about the Bush administration. But having gone through what I did, having been in politics for 16 years, I am just a little bit more skeptical today than I was earlier -- not that it's cynical, not that it has changed dramatically. You can call that, perhaps, being wiser, being a little bit more cautious. It is just something that I've learned along the way.
LAMB:What will the next book be about?
QUAYLE: There are two possibilities. One, I could write an issue-oriented book, to talk about taxes and family values and welfare and nuclear proliferation, Russia, and get into some substantive issues. That is one possibility. Another possibility, which I'm more attracted to, is to write a book about families, about American families, and what I'd like to do is to sit down and talk with a number of families -- intact families, single mothers, single fathers, people that adopt children, foster homes and a whole host of different arrangements -- and to develop certain trends, themes, ideas that strengthen families, that help our children; to spend time on one issue that I have thought a lot about and spoken about and that has received a lot of attention.
LAMB:We're out of time, but as we close out here where was this picture taken and how long did it take to get the right one?
QUAYLE: It was taken at my home. It's a fence that we have around our house. The field in the background is not my property. It's my neighbor's property. It took approximately, I'd guess, three or four hours to get the right one and a lot of discussion. In this case we had a focus group. I eschew focus groups in the book because I thought that we spent too much time in the campaign on focus groups and polling data, but we took a focus group and that picture won.
LAMB:This is the book. It's called "Standing Firm", and our guest has been the former vice president Dan Quayle. We thank you for joining us.
QUAYLE: Brian, thank you.
Copyright National Cable Satellite Corporation 1994. Personal, noncommercial use of this transcript is permitted. No commercial, political or other use may be made of this transcript without the express permission of National Cable Satellite Corporation.