Dan Quayle, the handsome, blond junior senator from Indiana who was chosen as George Bush’s running mate on Tuesday, is the first member of the post-World War II baby boom generation ever to be selected for nomination to a national office.
At age 41, he is an energetic and affable conservative who specializes in defense and health issues, the grandson of the late conservative newspaper publisher Eugene Pulliam and the father of three young children. His wife, Marilyn, has a law degree.
But Quayle is barely known on the national scene. And perhaps the best known aspects of his public personality are his red-cheeked baby face, his sandy blond hair and his blue eyes--a boyish handsomeness that has proven appealing to some women voters.
The Redford Comparison
“He looks like Robert Redford,” said Sen. Rudy Boschwitz (R-Minn.). No, added Sen. Pete Wilson (R-Calif.), “he looks like Robert Redford used to look.”
Party analysts believe Quayle’s enormous popularity among Indiana women can be duplicated on a national scale, helping Bush to close the so-called “gender gap” that makes him less popular with women than Democratic nominee Michael S. Dukakis. Likewise, his expertise on military affairs is expected to be popular with young males who view Bush as unassertive.
In that sense, Bush’s choice of Quayle is similar to that of Democratic nominee Walter F. Mondale’s selection of Geraldine A. Ferraro in 1984 because it is designed to broaden the ticket’s general demographic appeal. “It is a bold choice--a strictly demographic choice,” said GOP political consultant Mark Helmke, a long-time friend of Quayle.
Republicans hope Quayle will compare favorably to Dukakis’ choice of a 67-year-old Texas senator as his running mate. “I can’t wait to see the comparison between Lloyd Bensten and Dan Quayle--the old and the new, the past and the future,” said Sen. James A. McClure (R-Ida.).
Like Bush, however, Quayle comes from a well-heeled family, which may limit the ticket’s appeal to working class voters. And his life of privilege, according to one acquaintance, has made him “something of a brat.”
“I’ve been very fortunate in my young life . . . ,” Quayle told an interviewer when he was 33 years old. “There was never anything where ‘I’ve got to work really hard to get there.’ ”
His conservative credentials are impeccable. “He makes Genghis Khan look like a misunderstood liberal,” said a Senate Democratic aide, who refused to be named.
Born James Danforth Quayle on Feb. 4, 1947--less than two years after the end of World War II--he was graduated in 1969 from DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., a small liberal arts college that is loosely affiliated with the Methodist Church. He was a third-generation member of his fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon, and met his wife in college. In 1974, he received a law degree from Indiana University Law School.
While in law school, Quayle held posts in the Indiana attorney general’s office, the governor’s office and the state revenue department. He then returned to his hometown and took over as associate editor of the Huntington, Ind., Herald Press, which--like the larger Indianapolis Star and the Arizona Republic--is owned by his mother’s powerful family.
Start of Career
Quayle’s entry into politics in 1976 as a candidate for Congress was marred by bad timing, according to Ft. Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke. “In the middle of his news conference announcing his candidacy), there was a shooting in town and all the news media pulled their plugs and ran out,” Helmke recalled. “And he’s still standing there. That was the start of his political career.”
But Quayle defeated incumbent Rep. J. Edward Roush and served two terms in the House, accentuated by frequent absences from Capitol Hill. The Indiana press once reported that Quayle had missed 40 out of 61 sessions of the House Foreign Affairs Committee over a 14-month period.
In February, 1980, Jack Anderson wrote that Quayle’s campaign organization had filmed him busily entering and leaving a meeting of the House Small Business Committee. But a half-hour later when the committee convened, the Indiana congressman was absent.
It was near the end of his four-year House tenure that Quayle went to Florida on a golf weekend with several other members--an outing that later became part of a Justice Department probe into allegations that members of Congress exchanged votes for sexual favors from lobbyist Paula Parkinson, who had posed nude in Playboy magazine.
Parkinson told investigators that the trip was just one event in a love affair with Rep. Tom Evans (R-Del.). Both Quayle and Rep. Tom Railsback (R-Ill.), who also shared the vacation house that weekend, insisted they had had no sexual relations with Parkinson.
In September of 1981, the Justice Department reported it had uncovered no evidence that any member of Congress had swapped votes for sexual favors or other inducements by Parkinson. Assistant Atty. Gen. D. Lowell Jensen, then head of the criminal division, sent a letter to Rep. Philip M. Crane (R-Ill.), telling him a probe into allegations involving Parkinson had been closed.
In March of that year, Crane had asked for the investigation into whether members of Congress had been “corruptly influenced to exchange votes for sexual or other favors.”
Crane’s letter was prompted by reports that Evans, Railsback and Quayle had all voted against a bill opposed by Parkinson. The members all denied that their meeting with Parkinson had influenced their votes. Parkinson had registered as a lobbyist to defeat a bill that proposed federal involvement in the crop insurance business.
Jokes With Reporters
When the weekend became public knowledge in 1981, Quayle told reporters he barely remembered Parkinson and jokingly suggested the media could make “something homosexual out of” the predominantly male gathering.
Quayle’s emergence on the political main stage was in large part based on one of those accidents of health that occasionally boost the careers of ambitious politicians.
In 1980, most Indiana politicians expected a hot Senate race between incumbent Democrat Birch Bayh and his longtime rival, Otis R. Bowen, now the secretary of Health and Human Services. But Bowen’s wife fell ill, and he decided not to run.
Seeing the opening, Quayle jumped into the race and won on President Reagan’s coattails with considerable help from the fundamentalist religious right. Nevertheless, Quayle told The Times in a 1980 interview that he was unaware of one of the most controversial groups supporting him.
“The Moral Majority, I don’t know who they are,” he said with a laugh--apparently trying to deflect criticism of fierce attacks by the Rev. Jerry Falwell’s group on Bayh.
In his first Senate term, Quayle acquired a reputation among some colleagues as a young man who spread himself too thin--a failing his admirers claim he has since corrected.
‘Never Said Anything Wrong’
“He never said anything wrong, but he just jumped from issue to issue,” said a GOP Senate aide. “He’s more focused now. I think he has developed into a more mature guy.”
It has been his youthful activism, combined with frequent, long-winded speeches on the floor of the Senate, that have caused some of Quayle’s fellow senators to hold him in low esteem. Some of his foes consider him to be a shallow upstart who takes on too many complex issues and inadvisably challenges Senate powerhouses, such as Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, whose knowledge of the subject exceeds his own.
“You are going to hear people say he is an intellectual lightweight,” said John Walda, a Ft. Wayne attorney who challenged him unsuccessfully in 1978.
Even some of his supporters admit that Quayle is a man who likes to hear himself talk. And as he demonstrated during his initial appearance with Bush on Tuesday, his delivery is frequently loud and animated.
In the Senate, Quayle proved himself to be a right-wing ideologue with as conservative a voting record as any Republican. The American Conservative Union gives Quayle an 82% approval rating; the liberal Americans for Democratic Action rate him 5%.
“Dan Quayle is a tad to the right of me,” remarked Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove), one of the most conservative members of Congress.
But even his political opponents admit that Quayle’s affable, good nature tends to obscure the ideological purity of his record. His is known as a good golfer and frequently plays with his political opponents, such as Nunn.
In golf, as in the Senate, Quayle attacks the game with an enthusiasm unmatched by many. “He is a hard driver,” said James F. Hartle, a Floria businessman who went to school with Quayle. “He hits a big stick.”
As a member of the powerful Armed Service Committee, Quayle was chosen in 1986 to head a panel that developed proposals for reforming the Pentagon’s procurement system--a matter that is once again an issue in Congress as a result of the most recent defense purchasing scandal. Unlike the Reagan Administration, he advocates creation of a procurement “czar” at the Pentagon.
During this year’s Senate ratification debate of President Reagan’s Intermediate Range Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union, Quayle took a leading role in opposing Democratic efforts to restrict the Admiministration’s interpretation of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, under which it hoped to conduct early tests of the Strategic Defense Initiative, the space-based missile defense system.
Backer of Manion
But the most memorable role that Quayle has played in the Senate was his unyielding advocacy of the Reagan Administration’s appointment of Daniel A. Manion, a South Bend, Ind., attorney, to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
It was a stormy struggle in which the Democrats cited Manion’s lack of experience and his political views, which were characterized as extremist. In the 1970s, Manion had appeared on radio and television shows with his father, Clarence Manion, a founder of the John Birch Society. Quayle argued forcefully that Reagan had “a right to appoint judges who share his judicial philosophy.”
Manion was confirmed on a 50-49 vote, with Bush casting a symbolic tie-breaking vote.
As a member of the Senate Labor Committee, Quayle helped in 1982 to devise and enact a successor program to the controversial Comprehensive Employment and Training Act. In doing so, he worked closely with liberal Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy--a relationship that has produced compromises on other issues as well.
Prior to his reelection in 1986, he led a drive to prevent the medical profession from becoming dominated by specialists. Congress eventually adopted a weak version of his proposal to create a council of medical professionals to determine how many doctors should be trained in various categories
Tends to Constituents
Back in Indiana, Quayle is a popular politician because he diligently takes care of his constituents, according to a former opponent. But organized labor, which has battled the anti-union stance of his powerful newspaper family for years, is no fan of Quayle.
“I shudder to think of Dan Quayle as vice president of the United States,” said Don Strack, president of the Central Labor Council in Ft. Wayne.
According to Quayle’s latest annual financial disclosure report, filed with the Senate Ethics Committee, he holds more than $250,000 worth of stock in Central Newspapers Inc. of Indianapolis, the family business. His wife also has holdings in the company of between $100,000 and $250,000.
The senator receives stock dividends of up to $15,000 annually from his holdings in Central Newspapers. He also reported earning $2,625 last year as a vice president and director of Huntington Newspapers Inc.
Quayle said he has deposits of up to $15,000 at Community State Bank in Huntington, in addition to retirement accounts for himself and his wife that total more than $50,000.
Active on the lecture circuit, he reported receiving $49,255 in honorariums last year, mostly from speeches he gave to industry groups such as Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc., the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Assn. and the American Mining Congress. Of this sum, he donated $14,302 to charity, leaving net receipts of $34,953.
The Quayle-Redford similarity has been noted so often that the actor wrote to the senator in 1980 demanding that he stop making the comparison. But Quayle, who blames the media for constantly bringing up the look-alike issue, responded by sending the actor an autographed photo of himself.
Staff writers Robert L. Jackson, Doyle McManus and Karen Tumulty, and researchers Norma Kaufman and Edith Stanley, contributed to this story.