He’s no Johnny Carson, but Dan Quayle did bring down the house Friday when he tweaked Michael S. Dukakis with a few familiar lines.
The Republican vice presidential nominee, speaking to 3,000 supporters and a few dozen detractors at East Tennessee State University, reminded the crowd of recent comments by the state’s junior senator, Albert Gore Jr., who said the Dukakis campaign was reminiscent of Harry S. Truman’s 1948 effort.
Truman won that year, but not until coming back from a yawning deficit. The election was so close that Truman posed in triumph with a premature newspaper headline trumpeting the victory of his Republican opponent, Thomas E. Dewey.
“Let me tell you this,” said Quayle, who repeated his remarks later at a Savannah, Ga., gathering: “I don’t know Michael Dukakis well. I haven’t served with Michael Dukakis. Michael Dukakis is not a good friend of mine. But I know this: Michael Dukakis is no Harry Truman.”
The remarks put a new spin, of course, on the stinging lines delivered by Quayle’s Democratic counterpart, Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, when the two men debated earlier this month. Quayle at the time said Bentsen’s words were “really uncalled for"--but, apparently, enticing enough to mock.