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Then & Now: Dan Quayle

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Dan Quayle accepts the vice president nomination at the 1988 Republican National Convention.

SPECIAL REPORT

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Dan Quayle
GOP
Indiana
George W. Bush

(CNN) -- Dan Quayle was little known nationally when George H.W. Bush picked the young GOP senator from Indiana as his running mate in 1988.

Quayle's golden-boy looks appealed to the cameras, but his verbal missteps quickly attracted the most media attention.

Today, politics takes a back seat to business for the former vice president. Quayle, 58, spends much of his time traveling as chairman of the investment firm Cerberus Global Investment.

"I'm fortunate enough to have had a great career in politics and public life," he recently told CNN. "And now I'm having a very good career, and hopefully [it] will be a great career in the business life."

As vice president, Quayle headed the Council of Competitiveness, was chairman of the National Space Council, worked on deregulation and touted the importance of "family values."

His remarks on the latter generated the most controversy when he criticized the TV sitcom "Murphy Brown" in 1992. Quayle accused the popular program of glamorizing single motherhood when the title character, played by Candice Bergen, had a child out of wedlock.

"It doesn't help matters when prime-time TV has Murphy Brown, a character who supposedly epitomizes today's intelligent, highly paid professional woman, mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice," Quayle said then.

The comments set off a media firestorm, but a decade later Quayle said that he wouldn't change a thing.

"I don't think I'd rephrase it," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in 2002. "You've got to realize that the ["Murphy Brown"] speech was about a 35- to 40-minute speech. ... The subject was the poverty of values, the breakdown in the family. I was trying to put out as a challenge to families and to all people: [If you] stay in school, get married, wait until you're after 20 to start having children, you have less than a 5 percent chance of living in poverty."

Another highly publicized incident occurred earlier the same year as the "Murphy Brown" brouhaha when Quayle led a spelling bee while visiting a New Jersey elementary school.

Using a flash card reportedly prepared incorrectly by a teacher, the vice president corrected a student who had written "potato" on the blackboard, making him add an unnecessary "e" to the end of the word.

The "potatoe" incident was widely ridiculed, adding to Quayle's public image as a lightweight. (Such goofs have been dubbed Quaylisms on Web sites devoted to chronicling the former vice president and his verbal miscues.)

In 1992, Quayle and Bush were voted out of office. The defeat changed the young vice president's life.

"It wasn't easy," Quayle said. "I didn't expect to lose, didn't think that we would lose. And we obviously didn't want to lose. And so that night I said, 'Well, now I've got to figure out what I'm going to do.' "

To make the transition from politics to civilian life, Quayle embarked on a speaking tour, penned three books and became a visiting professor of international studies at Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management in Phoenix, Arizona.

In 2000, Quayle re-entered the political ring when he ran for president, but he lost the Republican nomination to George W. Bush, son of the man he had once served.

"Do I miss politics? Of course I do," Quayle said. "But that's behind me. I had a good run at it."

Though he has made the transition to business, Quayle keeps his toe in the political waters.

"I'm still involved in politics on a limited basis," he said. "I stay in touch with the president, the vice president, his Cabinet, on a limited basis. I still help out [with] fund-raising ... but my full-time job is in the business world."

Quayle and his wife, Marilyn, are self-described "empty nesters" who live in Arizona. Their three children, Tucker, Benjamin and Corrine, are grown and live in Hong Kong, New York and New Orleans, Louisiana, respectively.

Quayle said that the politics gene possibly has been passed down to his offspring and that one of them may seek public office.

"I think one of them will, [but I] don't know which one. ...," he said. "They all say, 'No, not so sure about it, don't have time for it, want to do other things.' But my hunch is one or two of them will eventually get into politics. At what level I don't really know."

For now, Quayle said he is enjoying the challenges of business life and spending time with his wife.

"It's a great life, and Marilyn and I are enjoying it. No grandchildren yet though," he said smiling.

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