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Controversy Over Quayle's Nomination

August 27, 1988

If Quayle ever goes home to run his newspapers, he probably will handle news stories concerning public officials very carefully--at least for a while.

One can question whether or not the media is making too much of the Quayle-National Guard story; but at least the facts are clear. Quayle joined the National Guard. If he had not, he might, or probably would (select one) have been drafted; and he might have been sent to Vietnam. Voters can decide whether Quayle's conduct was good or bad, and if bad, how bad.

But the Quayle-Paula Parkinson story is something else again (Part I, Aug. 23-24). There are three possibilities: (1) She lied to get publicity; or (2) he paid her a compliment concerning her looks, figure or whatever, which she construed as a pass (not unreasonable since she apparently believes men find her irresistible); or (3) he did make a pass at her. Two of the three possibilities favor Quayle. Even so, he has no protection. All he can hope for is that the media will act responsibly. In that regard, the Quayle-Parkinson story represents a new low, in my opinion.

I am certain you can rationalize your use of the story. Other newspapers have used it; besides, Parkinson's story, along with her nude photograph, will appear in the November Playboy magazine. But I do not subscribe to Playboy. I somehow believed that The Times' standards and Playboy's were quite different.

I held elective public office from 1953 to 1979. I am proud of my contribution. I enjoyed public service. More and more I wonder why anyone runs for public office.


Los Angeles

The Times received 429 letters on Quayle's nomination; 294 were critical of his nomination, 112 supported him, and 23 took no stand.

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