"First in the Nation" special: Dan Quayle transcript
February 3, 1999
Steve Forbes | Al Gore | John McCain | Dan Quayle
(Editor's note: This interview with Dan Quayle appeared in a joint CNN-WMUR special, "First in the Nation: The New Hampshire Primary," which aired February 2, 1999. CNN's Judy Woodruff interviewed Quayle in Washington.)
DAN QUAYLE (R), REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have the burning desire to be president. I care deeply about the American people, care deeply about this country. I believe that I am uniquely prepared and qualified to be president, to make -- meet the challenges of the future. And there are three big challenges that we have: the assault on middle-class values, the middle-class is getting squeezed even though the economy's growing at two percent, and the debacle that we have in foreign policy. Those are the challenges; I'm best prepared and best qualified to lead the nation on those three issues.
WOODRUFF: How -- you say the middle class is being squeezed, and yet all the surveys that are being done show 70, even 80 percent of the American people say they think the economy -- the country's doing just fine.
QUAYLE: But Judy, let me tell you: the middle class is working harder than ever before. Two are earning what one used to earn. They're -- two are working not because of choice but because of economic survival. Last year alone 10,000 steel workers lost their jobs. Don't go telling those 10,000 steel workers that this economy is that great because they'll tell you that it's not. We can do better. WOODRUFF: You've begun your campaign with some criticisms of other Republicans not by name...
QUAYLE: Never by name.
WOODRUFF: But you've talked about other Republicans -- you said liberal at some point -- liberal Republicans at one point.
QUAYLE: I'm not so sure there are too many liberal Republicans around anymore.
WOODRUFF: Well it was a term that we saw that you had used. But my question is, do you think it's smart to start your campaign saying the Republicans haven't demonstrated the leadership qualities?
QUAYLE: You're referring to a direct mail piece. Listen to what I say. And I believe in the 11th commandment: I will not speak ill of fellow Republicans. I will criticize ideas. I will take my ideas to the American people, but I am not going to get into criticism of fellow Republicans. I will criticize Al Gore. He will probably the nominee and that will be my focus.
WOODRUFF: But you're not disavowing your direct mail letter are you?
QUAYLE: Oh, I wouldn't do that, because I'm going to raise money on that.
WOODRUFF: But I mean is there some inconsistency here?
QUAYLE: No, absolutely not.
WOODRUFF: Because one of the lines in the letter -- several of the lines have to do with the Republican leadership of the last decade, has been deficient.
QUAYLE: I tell you what we're all going to get a long a lot better if you listen to what I say. Ask me the questions; listen to what I have to say; go to the speeches; talk to the people. I'd pay a little less attention to that direct mail piece.
WOODRUFF: But you're not disavowing it, right?
QUAYLE: Why would I? I'm going to raise money on it?
WOODRUFF: You talk about your vision, your ideas. You're also well aware that a number of Republicans and other say that Dan Quayle still has an image problem, that dates back to his time as vice president; that he's perceived by some as being less presidential. How do...
QUAYLE: Those that have that idea...
WOODRUFF: First of all, is it a problem?
QUAYLE: Those that have that idea -- and I'll concede that some do come listen to me speak -- watch me on this program, watch me speak out on the issues, listen to what I have to say. And also the message -- the message is very important because my vision is very much mainstream America -- less government, a more efficient government, lower taxes, stronger families, investing in national defense. This is what the middle-class wants. This is what middle America wants, and I believe you're going to be surprised at how many people are attracted to that message.
WOODRUFF: For the record the U.S. economy is actually growing at a rate of just over four percent.
Steve Forbes | Al Gore | John McCain | Dan Quayle
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