OTR Interviews

Dan Quayle Sounds Off on Qaddafi's Death, the GOP Race for the White House

Former vice president discusses Libyan dictator's death and its impact and the GOP race for the White House


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 20, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Welcome to Phoenix, Arizona. And we are here celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Fox News Channel, and we have a very special show tonight with very special guests. Arizona governor Jan Brewer is here. Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, who is facing a recall election, will be here in minutes. And we're going to take you to the border with the Arizona border patrol.

Plus, we're going to bring you back to some of the best moments from "On the Record" over the years. This is a big night for "On the Record"!

And first, a guest you all know. Former vice president Dan Quayle joins us. Good evening, sir.

DAN QUAYLE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good evening. Congratulations to you and Fox, 15 great years. Many more. We hope.

VAN SUSTEREN: We hope. Indeed.

QUAYLE: Absolutely!

VAN SUSTEREN: Who would have guessed we...

QUAYLE: Fair and balanced!

VAN SUSTEREN: We'll use that for an ad!


QUAYLE: Exactly!

VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway, love your state fair.

QUAYLE: You're interested in political history, I'm going to give you a little political history from my perspective in the Arizona State Fair. It was back in 1958 when I lived here. I grew up here in Arizona. I was with my wonderful mother, who is, hopefully, watching tonight because I'm mentioning her in a very good (INAUDIBLE) -- took me to the Arizona state fair to pass out Barry Goldwater literature when he was running for the United States Senate against Ernest McFarland. That was my first political event in my life.

VAN SUSTEREN: And what a difference...


QUAYLE: Exactly!

VAN SUSTEREN: Who would have guessed you'd be vice president and then you'd be back here tonight with us.

QUAYLE: Be back at the Arizona State Fair. And when I knew that you were going to be here and you invited me, I said, Absolutely, I want to come see Greta, help Fox, and also come back to the Arizona State Fair.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's very nice to see you. And there's a lot going on in the world (INAUDIBLE) today. Your thoughts. Qaddafi -- Qaddafi's dead. How does that change things?

QUAYLE: I don't think it's going to change things much immediately. The focus right now is, you know, who's going to succeed Qaddafi. This transitional government there, we really don't know who the leader's going to be.

My guess is what's going to happen, Greta, is in the next six to twelve months, there's going to be a lot of fighting, jockeying for position. And particularly, the Islamists, the radicals and al Qaeda and those supporters will try to move in to have a lot of say in this next government. We don't know how it's going to turn out.

That was one of the big questions everyone had. OK, fine, let's get rid of Qaddafi. But what succeeds Qaddafi? We don't really know. It's good that he's gone. He was a tyrant. He was -- you know, needed to go. And you do have to give credit to the Obama administration.

But this was a much different type of war effort, if you will. It was NATO-led. Obviously, the United States is basically NATO. We have other partners there, but we are the ones that make the major contribution. But we weren't the leaders. It was more of A European initiative. And we helped more -- most of the sorties were probably flown by the Americans.

But as former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates pointed out, this was not in our vital national security interests. But we did support the effort. It worked out. And I think we're all glad that Qaddafi is gone.

Now the hard work begins. Who succeeds him? What kind of a government are we going to have? Is it going to be pro-West? Early indications are that it could be. We don't know. And we won't know for a year.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's sort of interesting. We all watch things on the outside and we wonder, you know, how leaders learn about it. And there's -- we have a clip here of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. I think she's in Afghanistan. But let's listen to this. This is how she found out that Qaddafi was dead.




CLINTON: Unconfirmed, yes.


CLINTON: No. Unconfirmed reports about Gadhafi being captured. Unconfirmed. Yes. We've had too many -- we've had a bunch of those before. We've had -- you know, have had him captured a couple of times.


VAN SUSTEREN: It's funny these sort of YouTube times, and we all got cameras and cell phones and we actually could see the behind the scenes. I mean, here's our secretary of state hearing this important news, and even, you know, she's (INAUDIBLE) She's, "Wow."

QUAYLE: This is the first time I had seen that clip. I had heard about that she received it over a BlackBerry or a text message. Do you know, it reminds me the first response, first reaction I had, it reminds me of when George Bush was informed about the World Trade Center coming down. You know, he's at a school. Andy Card comes in. Whispers in his ear. And he saw the reaction, wasn't quite certain what it was, kept going. Then they called him out. The reaction is similar.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, you never -- you know, we watch our leaders, and we forget that, you know, they're -- they plan to have a day a particular way, and then they are very much surprised about what may unravel. It really is -- you know, the job of being a leader is so fluid, and you've got to be quick and ready.

QUAYLE: Well, it's very difficult to establish the agenda because 24 hours ago, they did not know the agenda was going to be Libya and Gadhafi. Today it's all Libya. It's all Qaddafi. It's, you know, who're going to succeed Qaddafi. But when you're president of the United States, when you get up in the morning, you think you know what you're going to do that day. You don't because world events change. World events happen. And you have to respond.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Are, you watching the 2012 race?

QUAYLE: Oh, absolutely, with great interest!

VAN SUSTEREN: So tell me, what do you think -- what do you make of the -- or at least everyone's talking about sort of there's a little bit of a bloodbath, or so it appears to me outside, between Governor Perry and Governor Romney.

QUAYLE: What I think needs to happen now is that they need to have probably fewer candidates on the stage. They've all had their turn. They need to winnow that down, get the top three or four there, and let them have a more substantive debate.

I didn't particularly like two nights ago the debate in Las Vegas because I can see the personal tension, the animosity between the various candidates really rise to the surface. It was not -- you know, it was entertaining, I guess. But I particularly did not enjoy it. I think they've got to get over the bickering.

The unfortunate aspect, from my perspective and all those that want to see Barack Obama defeated, is that Barack Obama, President Obama, he should have been the center of attention. He should have been on the stage that night. He wasn't. They spent too much time fighting amongst each other.

So I think it's probably time to, you know, winnow this down -- I don't know when the next debate is -- get the top three or four, and hopefully, they'll have a more serious, substantive discussion so the voters will be able to see where the candidates really stand on the issues. I mean, discussing about the lawn service, you know, for three or four or five minutes is really rather ridiculous.

VAN SUSTEREN: How about Mr. Herman Cain? He seems to be surging. I mean, it's interesting to watch how he's doing in the polls.

QUAYLE: Oh, he's the -- he's the real deal. I've known Herman for a number of years. When I was on a speaking tour after I was out of office, right after I was out of office, I'd run into him periodically. And he's a very good speaker. He's a good businessman. He's got a big heart. I think he's very smart. He doesn't have a lot of political experience and...

VAN SUSTEREN: Does that matter?

QUAYLE: Political experience?


QUAYLE: Yes, it does. And I think you'll see that as time comes on. Now, he may be, you know, very good, very quick. But you've got to have political experience to really got the length. But he is the real deal. He's a good man. He's somebody that I've been friends with for quite some time. But yes, political experience does matter.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, when you look at President Obama coming up, he didn't have a lot of political experience. He'd been a senator for a short period of time. I mean, did he have the political experience?

QUAYLE: Well, he had political experience.

VAN SUSTEREN: That was...


QUAYLE: He was a state senator for four years. He was a U.S. Senator for four years. He had run for election against Bobby Rush and lost, for Congress. So he had been in the arena, so to speak.

Herman Cain's never really been in the arena for this. I talked to him, you know, I don't know, seven or eight months ago, and gave him some advice. I said, You need to go raise a lot of money or win one of these straw polls to get in that top tier.

Well, he hasn't raised that much money, but he did win one of those straw polls. And right now, he's in the top tier. But he's never run for office before. And now that people like you are you going to be asking a lot of questions, the political experience is something that is very important.

Now, that doesn't mean he's not going to be able to handle it, but we'll wait and see. But he's a good man.

VAN SUSTEREN: How about that "9-9-9"? Have you thought about that?

QUAYLE: I thought a little bit about it. It's a great slogan. People understand it. But the 9 percent sales tax without a constitutional amendment to eliminate the income tax in my book doesn't really work. It's a way to raise a lot of revenues, 9 percent this time, 12 percent the next time...

VAN SUSTEREN: So you don't trust Congress, basically, in terms of the sales tax?

QUAYLE: Well, no. No, I would consider -- only consider a value- added tax, a sales tax -- that's what his is -- if, in fact, it goes along with a constitutional amendment that repeals the income tax because otherwise, Congress will throw the income tax back on there, and it will go up and the sales tax will go up. And it will just be -- you know, government will be bigger and it'll be harder -- harder -- harder to shrink it.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, we can't leave this discussion without talking about the congressman. Are you proud of the congressman from this area?

QUAYLE: My son, Ben Quayle? He's doing a great job! You know, working hard for the constituents, enjoying it. I think he's one of the leaders, from what I've been told by others, in the freshman class.

VAN SUSTEREN: Fun for you?

QUAYLE: It's fun to observe. I'd like to give him advice a little bit more, but he knows what he's doing. And every once in a while, I, you know, suggest things, and sometimes he just, you know, goes about his own way. But that's the way it should be. He doesn't ask for a lot of advice!

VAN SUSTEREN: But anyway, it's fun for you. Anyway, it's nice to see you, Mr. Vice President. Thank you, sir.

QUAYLE: Always a pleasure.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you.