United States vice-presidential debate, 1988

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The 1988 vice-presidential debate featured Democratic vice-presidential candidate, Lloyd Bentsen debating Republican candidate, Dan Quayle. It was held on October 5, 1988.

Notable moments[edit]

This debate featured the classic line, "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy", spoken by Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle. A transcript follows:

Tom Brokaw: Senator Quayle, I don't mean to beat this drum until it has no more sound in it. But to follow up on Brit Hume's question, when you said that it was a hypothetical situation, it is, sir, after all, the reason that we're here tonight, because you are running not just for Vice President — (Applause) — and if you cite the experience that you had in Congress, surely you must have some plan in mind about what you would do if it fell to you to become President of the United States, as it has to so many Vice Presidents just in the last 25 years or so.

Quayle: Let me try to answer the question one more time. I think this is the fourth time that I've had this question.

Brokaw: The third time.

Quayle: Three times that I've had this question — and I will try to answer it again for you, as clearly as I can, because the question you are asking is, "What kind of qualifications does Dan Quayle have to be president," "What kind of qualifications do I have," and "What would I do in this kind of a situation?" And what would I do in this situation? [...] I have far more experience than many others that sought the office of vice president of this country. I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency. I will be prepared to deal with the people in the Bush administration, if that unfortunate event would ever occur.

Judy Woodruff: Senator [Bentsen]?

Bentsen: Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy: I knew Jack Kennedy; Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy. (Prolonged shouts and applause.) What has to be done in a situation like that is to call in the —

Woodruff: Please, please, once again you are only taking time away from your own candidate.

Quayle: That was really uncalled for, Senator. (Shouts and applause.)

Bentsen: You are the one that was making the comparison, Senator — and I'm one who knew him well. And frankly I think you are so far apart in the objectives you choose for your country that I did not think the comparison was well-taken.