LOS ANGELES: Though Dan Quayle’s presidential campaign went by the wayside last week, PR consultant Fred Davis said that the former vice president’s communications efforts were not to blame.
LOS ANGELES: Though Dan Quayle’s presidential campaign went by the
wayside last week, PR consultant Fred Davis said that the former vice
president’s communications efforts were not to blame.
Davis, of LA-based Strategic Perception, faulted Quayle’s fund-raising
squad for not providing the financing he needed to promote the candidate
effectively. He had been led to believe that he would have a dollars 20
million budget at his disposal, though a sizeable chunk of that would
have gone toward political advertising in primary and caucus states.
Having to devote an inordinate amount of time raising money rendered
Quayle unable to mount the PR effort needed to counteract negative
perceptions that took hold earlier in the decade, according to
The veteran politico recalled arranging a chat with a reporter at a bar,
which was attended by ’surprise guest’ Quayle. Davis claims the informal
sit-down showed the relaxed and thoughtful sides of Quayle that were
often obscured by the stereotype of a privileged young Republican who
can’t spell ’potato.’ More conversations like that with reporters,
according to Davis, would have been helpful in revamping Quayle’s
Quayle was not the most polished politician when chosen to be the elder
George Bush’s VP in 1988, but he had matured over the years and beltway
insiders generally credited him with possessing an acute understanding
of foreign affairs. But the media kept harping on his repeated gaffes
and dishing out criticism of his general competence.
’He got saddled with a reputation, and just couldn’t get over it,’ said
one consultant. When asked whether Quayle’s PR efforts did enough to
combat his lightweight image, the consultant responded, ’The PR didn’t
work, the ads didn’t work, nothing worked. It’s a shame, because he’s
probably a brighter guy than a lot of people in office nowadays.’
Despite the budgetary constraints, Quayle used general interest programs
to deliver his message. He was on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and
even allowed ABC’s Good Morning America to film his preparation for a
rival network’s talk show.
Ever the PR man, Davis suggested that freed from the campaign trail,
Quayle will be an interesting talk show guest.