Fred Thompson’s Quayle-Hunting?

Oct 19, 2007 12:22pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein and Christine Byun Report: Was Fred Thompson channeling Dan Quayle?

Speaking at a gathering of social-conservatives in Washington, Thompson, R-Tenn., said on Friday that wasn’t sure what he’d do in his first 100 days as president, but he was pretty certain about what he’d do shortly after assuming the presidency.

"I know the first hour, I would go into the Oval Office and close the door, and pray for the wisdom to know what was right," Thompson said. "I would pray for the strength to do what is right."

The comment drew Thompson a standing ovation. But he isn’t the first to say he’d start his tenure as president with a prayer: Dan Quayle made a similar comment in 1988, at the vice-presidential debate that pitted him against Lloyd Bentsen.

Brit Hume, then of ABC News, asked Quayle what he would if the president became incapacitated "and you have to take the reins of power. When that moment came, what would be the first steps that you’d take, and why? "

Quayle’s response: "First, I’d say a prayer for myself and for the country that I’m about to lead. And then I would assemble his people and talk." 

The line contributed to public perceptions of Quayle as unequipped for the job. Bentsen himself liked to say that — should the Bush-Quayle ticket win — he would say a prayer for the health of George H.W. Bush, to keep Quayle from becoming president.

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