ABC Links Dan Quayle's 'Potatoe' to His Son: 'Dust off the Jokes and Hold on to Your Potatoes'
Saturday's Good Morning America on ABC devoted a full report to former Vice President Dan Quayle's son Ben's run for Congress in Arizona, focusing primarily on perceived gaffes by both him and his father. As anchor John Berman set up the report, he gave the impression that he views the former Vice President primarily as a joke: "It's time to dust off the jokes and hold on to your potatoes. Who can forget the vice presidency of Dan Quayle? His mortal feud with TV's Murphy Brown. His battles with the dictionary. Well, now, one of his children wants to follow in his footsteps and is making some headlines of his own, not all intentional."
During the piece which recounted a number of activities and statements by Ben Quayle that have come under criticism, or have come across to some as gaffes, correspondent T.J. Winick played a clip of the time that Dan Quayle infamously told a school boy that the word "potato" should have an "e" added to the end during a spelling lesson at a school. Winick did not inform viewers that it was the teacher who led Quayle astray as she had misspelled the word on the word list she had given to the then-Vice President to check the children's spelling.
Winick also described what he called a "shocking ad" in which Ben Quayle labeled President Obama "the worst President in history," and promised to go to Washington and "knock the hell out of the place." The ABC correspondent also informed viewers that Quayle had been criticized for using a photograph of himself with his nieces in campaign literature because he has no children of his own.
After the report, co-anchor Bianna Golodryga mused: "You know, every time I write out the word 'potato' I can't help but think of Mr. Dan Quayle."
Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Saturday, August 14, Good Morning America on ABC:
JOHN BERMAN: It's time to dust off the jokes and hold on to your potatoes. Who can forget the vice presidency of Dan Quayle? His mortal feud with TV's Murphy Brown. His battles with the dictionary. Well, now, one of his children wants to follow in his footsteps and is making some headlines of his own, not all intentional. Our man T.J. Winick has the story from Washington. T.J.?
T.J. WINICK: John, good morning. Ben Quayle is the front-runner in a primary field of 10 candidates. He's really struck a chord with angry voters, and, in more ways than one, he's proven to be a chip off the old block.
BEN QUAYLE, ARIZONA REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Barack Obama is the worst President in history.
WINICK: It's a shocking ad, Ben Quayle looking straight into the camera talking tough like a Washington outsider.
BEN QUAYLE: Somebody has to go to Washington and knock the hell out of the place.
WINICK: But the 33-year-old may, in fact, be the ultimate insider. He's the son of former Vice President Dan Quayle who's tapped into his dad's massive fund-raising network but also his dad's history of making mistakes. Dan Quayle became a political punch line during the 1992 presidential race and in his four years as Vice President.
(CLIP OF FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DAN QUAYLE TELLING A BOY TO ADD AN "E" TO THE WORD "POTATO")
WINICK: Now his son's blunders like this campaign brochure have also become late night fodder.
JAY LENO, FROM THE TONIGHT SHOW: Look at those two beautiful little girls. Trouble is, he doesn't have any kids.
WINICK: They were, in fact, Ben Quayle's nieces, but that didn't stop one campaign rival from accusing him of renting a family.
RICK KLEIN, ABC NEWS SENIOR WASHINGTON EDITOR: People are looking for comparisons to his father. They're looking for reasons not to take him seriously. They're looking for reasons to make fun of him. And, so far, he's only fueled that fire.
WINICK: Quayle has also taken fire for calling himself the fourth generation of his family to live and work in Arizona. That's because he was born in Indiana, grew up in Washington, D.C., and only moved to the state full time five years ago.
CLIP OF AD: Arizona roots, worldwide experience.
WINICK: This past week, the latest controversy, accusations that Quayle, campaigning as a family values conservative, once wrote for Dirty Scottsdale, a raunchy sex-themed Web site that covered the local club scene. The Web site's creator says that Quayle used the alias "Brock Landers," the name of a porn star in the movie Boogie Nights. Quayle admits he contributed to the site, but not under that name.
KLEIN: Certainly, he benefits from the fact that people know that name and they know the name is associated with politics, but there's just more scrutiny associated with being a Quayle.
WINICK: One of the ways he has benefitted, well, Ben Quayle has raised over $1.1 million, and, not surprisingly, John and Bianna, many of those contributions have come from former colleagues and friends of his father.
BIANCA GOLODRYGA: All right, T.J. You know, every time I write out the word "potato" I can't help but think of Mr. Dan Quayle.
BERMAN: I cross my fingers every time.
-Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.