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“Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”
Today is the 23rd anniversary of one of the greatest-put downs in American political history—the 1988 vice presidential debate, in which Lloyd Bentsen, a Democrat, delivered a positively Churchillian retort when Dan Quayle told Americans he “had as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did.”
The line is great, but the video’s even greater—you can see Bentsen, in the background, react immediately with a mix of both disbelief and mouth-watering at the opening Quayle has given him. The great irony is how little the quip mattered: Quayle and running mate George H. W. Bush still destroyed Michael Dukakis and Bentsen. Quayle, in the meantime, is more remembered for his spelling follies than his misplaced self-regard.