This is a partial transcript from "On the Record" with Greta Van Susteren, July 6, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Sir, do you recall when you received the phone call informing you that you were the choice of vice president of then soon to be president Bush 41?
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DAN QUAYLE: Absolutely, as if it was yesterday. I got the call. It was around 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday. I was in New Orleans. I got the call from the president, making the final offer. I was hoping I was going to get the call. I knew that I had a good chance of getting the call. But you never know until the call actually goes through. And I said, What's my first assignment? He says, “Well, show up at the Spanish Plaza. I'm going to introduce you.”
So I fought my way down there in about an hour-and-a-half, two hours, and he introduced me. And you know, when you're vice president, you do what the president says. And so in John Edwards' case, he was told to show up at Teresa Heinz's house in Pittsburgh, so he's up at their place. Different situations for different candidates.
VAN SUSTEREN: How long were you on the list, or did you have to sort of sit and wait to find out whether you'd be chosen?
QUAYLE: Well, right after the Democratic convention, I got a call from then Vice President George Bush asking if I could be considered for vice president. I said I'd be, you know, honored to do that. I said, “But before I give you final word, since he had just talked on the phone, I said, I'd like to check with my wife and family. I'll call you back tomorrow morning.”
And I called him back and I said, “Yes, absolutely. I would like to be considered.”
And he says, “Well, Bob Kimmitt” — was the gentleman's name — “would be contacting me and do all the vetting,” which he did.
That process lasted about three weeks. And there were probably, I think, six of us on the list. There was probably two of us. I think it really came down to Senator Dole and myself on who was going to be George Bush's running mate. So I was, you know, very hopeful. I knew I had a very good shot at it. Worked hard to put myself in a position to be selected. I had known 41, President Bush, for over 10 years. He knew my work in the House and in the Senate, and particularly on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And I was fortunate enough to get the call and get the nod, and we had four great years. Unfortunately, we didn't have eight.
VAN SUSTEREN: In terms of the actual vetting process, they go over everything sort of personal in your life, but they also pore over your votes. You'd been in the Senate, and before that in the House. Did they ask you to explain any particular votes? Was it that grueling, the vetting procedure?
QUAYLE: They did get into a few votes, but not that much. They really were most interested in tax returns, financial disclosure. It's almost like an FBI check. They go back and talk to your friends. They go back and sort of interview people that have known you for a long time. They always ask the hard questions. It's never the easy questions — you know, “What do you know that's not good about this guy? Why shouldn't we consider him?” But it's more on the character, financial issues, things of that sort that they were most interested in because they don't want to, you know, get a curve ball.
In my particular case, even though they knew it was very front and center, there was no real controversy on the surface, was the whole National Guard issue. Since I was the first one from my generation and the first one to go through the Vietnam war and be on a national ticket, that became a huge issue, and quite controversial to begin with. They had it vetted. Bob Kimmitt had all the information, but as it turned out, we perhaps could have gotten some information out a little bit sooner than we did. But you know, in the scheme of things, if they wanted to attack me for serving in the National Guard, so be it. There are a lot of Guardsmen that served, you know, very honorably, and a lot of Guards' families rallied to our support in 1998 because of that attack on me.
VAN SUSTEREN: Was it a little bit of a culture shock to go from a very public United States senator to being a vice presidential nominee, where the media is monitoring every step you make, chasing you with microphones, and basically, we knew where you were every second of the day and what you were doing?
QUAYLE: I think the best description came from my old friend, the late Senator Strom Thurmond. He said, “Well, they took Senator Quayle and turned him upside-down, took him by the ankles and shook him. And there were 15,000 reporters assembled there, trying to find something wrong that would come out.”
And it's really you know, quite an experience to go through it. But it's not that big of a deal for the candidate himself because, first of all, you know, myself, and same way with John Edwards, we're in the public eye. We're, you know, before the press. We're in the Senate. We're on the campaign trail.
But where the real culture shock comes in is not so much with my wife, Marilyn, who is a very astute campaigner in her own right, but it was with my children. And they were very young at that time. My daughter was 10, the other one when I was elected, 10, 12 and 14. And that was the real culture shock because they went from a very private life as a senator in McLean, Virginia, to a very public life to be the son and daughter of the vice president. And Edwards has a couple of small children. I don't think he's going to make it, but if he did, he'll have the same kind of experience.
VAN SUSTEREN: How about the fatigue level? Because it's around-the- clock work, campaigning.
QUAYLE: It is around-the-clock work, but you know, in the Senate, you work hard. You put in long hours. You go back and visit your constituents. You're all over the country. You travel abroad. It's hard work in both places.
The one thing that's different between the Senate and the vice presidency is every issue seems to be a crisis. Every moment, there's a crisis that needs to have an answer and be resolved immediately. So it's heightened crises orientation. Where in the Senate, you don't really have those kind of crises. You know, you're voting and it's important, there are national issues to be debated. But voting and debating is a lot different than being involved in making decisions that are going to affect millions of peoples' of lives here in the United States and around the world.
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