Lloyd Bentsen's Biggest Lifetime Achievement: Zinging Dan Quayle

Former Democratic vice presidential nominee Lloyd Bentsen has died. The ex-Senator from Texas was Secretary of the Treasury (under Bill Clinton), a World War II veteran and, in 1988, the running mate to Michael Dukakis. But take a look at what ABC chose to include in their two-line "Breaking News" headline announcing his death on ABCNews.com (as of today at 11:42AM EDT):

"Former U.S. Senator, Vice Presidential Candidate Lloyd Bentsen–Famous For Telling Dan Quayle ‘You’re No Jack Kennedy’–Has Died"

I guess no matter what you accomplish, if you zing a conservative or a Republican, that’s what the media will always remember. Also, in July of 1992, NBC’s Tom Brokaw noted that Bentsen’s famous verbal body slam may not have been, in the strictest sense, accurate:

"It was Lloyd Bentsen who said to Dan Quayle `I knew John Kennedy, and you're no John Kennedy.' It was one of the electrifying moments of the campaign. At the Kennedy Library, just outside Boston, they went through all the files. They couldn't see much evidence Lloyd Bentsen knew John Kennedy very well. But it certainly was an effective campaign ploy for him."
-- Tom Brokaw in convention coverage, July 16, 1992.

ABC Government & Press
Scott Whitlock's picture