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POLITICAL FORECAST : Will Quayle Be on the '92 Ticket or Playing Golf?

May 12, 1991| President George Bush's irregular heart rhythms revived old anxieties about the competence of his vice president. Some political analysts wondered if Quayle might be dropped from the ticket. The Times asked pollsters, consultants, politicians and academics if it would be Bush-Quayle in '92, and why

Walter F. Mondale,former vice president and presidential candidate in 1984:

It's clear that President Bush intends to retain Quayle on the ticket. In this case, a vote of one carries.

John Sears,Republican strategist:

Quayle will be on the ticket. It's the President's call and he wants him. Both Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon wanted to change running mates when each sought reelection--and they couldn't. So there is little reason to believe that Bush, who is pleased with Quayle's performance, would make a change. Besides, making a change would be an admission that you made a mistake in the first place, something that a popular President has no reason to admit and an unpopular President can ill-afford to do.

Maxine Waters,member of Congress from South-Central Los Angeles:

Yes, I think Quayle will be on the ticket, but that doesn't mean he should be. Quayle is a lightweight who makes a mockery of the word "qualified."

He is the epitome of the privileged white male who has bypassed the hurdles that the average citizen must overcome in order to achieve position, status or recognition. Yet he dares to oppose affirmative action for women and minorities--many of whom have IQs and training far superior to his--who have been excluded from opportunities.

Peter Hart, Democratic pollster:

Yes, because it's one man's choice. If Bush was happy with Quayle four years ago, he'll be happy with Quayle in 1992. If the question were: Is it the right choice for Bush and the nation, the answer is no.

Larry Sabato,professor of government, University of Virginia:

Yes--unless the race tightens and Bush needs to add 2 to 3 points by dumping Quayle and selecting Colin Powell, Dick Cheney or another heavyweight. Otherwise, Quayle will be kept, because Bush is happy with the job the vice president is doing. To drop him would be to admit that he erred in his single most important public decision.

Kenneth L. Khachigian former speech writer for Richard M. Nixon and chief speech writer for Ronald Reagan:

Quayle will be on the Republican ticket in 1992, because Bush is a man of his word. No one understands or sympathizes with the vice presidency more than someone who's held the job. The President has been in Quayle's shoes--and when he pledged that the vice president would stay on the ticket, he knew whereof he spoke. As the President showed throughout Desert Shield-Desert Storm, he won't be cowed by pack journalism or the mood swings of public opinion.

The other reason Quayle will stay on the ticket is that the President could be hurt politically if he changes. Quayle has been tested and--his critics should admit--has not failed. His life has been examined fully. He has built up support for himself and the GOP across the country. And while a new candidate might be the delight of some faint-hearted Republicans and anxious Democrats, the fact is that few people have made the campaign grade at the presidential and vice-presidential level. Bush knows that, and he knows that a new face could be far riskier than the current vice president who is fulfilling his duties admirably.

Ann F. Lewis former political director of the Democratic National Committee:

Yes for '92, no for '96. Quayle still has the support of his only important constituent--Bush. Even as the '92 race tightens, keeping Quayle is easier for Bush than replacing him. A change at this stage would raise questions of presidential judgment, and require choosing among potential successors.

But Quayle's political base apparently can't grow; after two years of public appearances on apple-pie issues like space and competitiveness, Quayle's poll ratings went down. People don't see him as presidential, and I don't think they ever will.

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