Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Farewell Lloyd Bentsen

There are not often politicians who you can assess as thoroughly dignified and decent, just by looking at them and hearing them speak a few words. Lloyd Bentsen, who has died aged 85, was part of that small group. Just looking at him, he looked like he was perhaps carved out of the granite from Mount Rushmore. The Democrats called on him as a Vice-Presidential candidate, to give their ticket some gravitas and southern cerdibility, just as they did with his fellow Texan, Lyndon Johnson.

But of course, we all remember Lloyd Bentsen for just one thing. "Senator" he rumbled at the oleaginous Dan Quayle in their Vice Presidential debate, "I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy." And we all hugely enjoyed Dan Quayle's look of humiliation at this superb, folksy-old American put-down which you can relive here.

However, perhaps Dan Quayle had the last laugh. After all, he did become Vice-President and enjoyed some excellent rounds of golf and a few odd (very odd) spelling lessons as a result.

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