Exclusive: Dan Quayle talks 2012 race

Former vice president on 2012 race, Mitt Romney


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," September 10, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


Former Vice President Dan Quayle here to tell me, exclusively, relax; it is the same Mitt Romney.

The president is always very, very relaxed.


CAVUTO: But you heard, sir, from Tea Partiers the like that they are getting antsy. They are getting nervous. They don’t like the way the party is behaving now that it's back for its brief period in Congress, and they don't like the way their presidential nominee is sounding.

What do you think?


Let's take Congress first. You have got to have a reality check here, as you would say. The Republicans control the House, the Democrats control the Senate, and the Democrats control the White House.

Now, if you're going to get something done, all three have to work together. You would think, by listening to a lot of the media, that the Republicans in the Congress run the show. They don't run the show.

As a matter of fact, of the three, they are the weakest. I served in the House. I served in the Senate and I've been in the White House. And the House is -- from a political point of view, it's the weakest. That's the way the framers made it.

So, the idea that nothing's getting done, the reason nothing is getting done -- and I concur with whoevers saying that -- is because there's no leadership from the president. The president has to lead. He has to lead the Congress. He's got to work with the House and he's got to work with the Senate. He's been AWOL basically since last March or April. He basically said I'm just going to go campaign. And he's been in campaign mode.

CAVUTO: But it's not as if the Republicans are without fault, right, Mr. Vice President?

QUAYLE: Well...

CAVUTO: I mean, when they agreed to this sequestration thing and all the automatic cuts, and now some of them are trying to back away from that, it does make one question how serious...

QUAYLE: OK. That's a whole different deal. That was a budget deal that they made at the 11th hour.

CAVUTO: Now they are trying to worm out of it.

QUAYLE: Well, now they are trying to figure out what is going to happen.

Well, look, if Romney gets elected, they'll kick the can down the road for six months. And I think that Mitt Romney has a better chance of getting the House and Senate to work on something that is good for the country than does Obama. If Obama gets elected, it'l be done during the lame-duck, and President Obama might just let the whole thing go. He doesn't mind...


CAVUTO: ... Mitt Romney with the scare, Mr. Vice President, is that Mitt Romney might not be who some of them cynically say he is, that when it came to endorsing the features of the president's health care plan, which might be very meritorious, protecting those with preexisting conditions, your kids, et cetera, that is not as unequivocal as he was a couple weeks ago at the convention, saying, I'm going to rip this thing apart my first very day in office.

QUAYLE: Well, but the clip you showed, it said repeal and replace. It wasn't just repeal. It was repeal and replace. And that's what been...

CAVUTO: So you don't think he's trying to run himself to the middle?

QUAYLE: No, you -- well, look, he's going after the Independents and he is going after the 10 percent that supposedly haven't made up their mind, obviously. But is he changing his mind? Is he changing? Is he flip-flopping, which a lot of his critics like to say?

No. He's said all along repeal and replace.


CAVUTO: You might have heard that Tea Partier who might have been unfairly getting his nose out of joint.

But I've heard from others like him, Mr. Vice President, who say, well, wait a minute, we're annoyed.

Your son in Arizona was beaten by a far more conservative candidate who said that your son, fairly or not, represented an accepting, acquiescing wing of the Republican Party. I don't think that was quite fair, but that there is a battle going on among Republicans, and they're not all happy campers.

QUAYLE: No, my son is a conservative. He's still in the Congress. He tries to get something done. Some people just don't care about getting anything done. You have to get things done.

Are you going to compromise your principals? No. You have certain principles that are -- you're just not going to compromise. But you have to get things done to move the country forward.


CAVUTO: Do you think Tea Partiers are hurting the party?

QUAYLE: No, I think the Tea Party's heart is clearly in the right way.

But when they start going after Mitt Romney, saying that he is flip- flopping, he's not one of us when he says preexisting conditions ought to stay as part of the law, to me that's replacing the ObamaCare.

ObamaCare, the objection is the mandate. And that's really the whole thing. It's the mandate and the increased costs that are going to go into the health care system.

So, as I said, I just heard your tape. I didn't find anything inconsistent at all.


It did hearken back to me, though, sir, when you and George Bush Sr. were running. There was always this sort of angst among the core conservatives that, hey, are they what they appear to be? And I'm not saying it is that way now.

But I am saying that maybe owing to the fact this race is still tight, that in battleground states, Romney and Ryan are trailing, that they're showing their frustration more. What do you think's going on?

QUAYLE: There's a lot of frustration out there.

The underemployed, as you have eloquently pointed out, is probably 15- 16 percent, not the 8.1 percent that's the unemployment figure. There's a lot of anxiety. There's a lot of frustration. People have given up hope.

You have children, middle-age children are moving back in with their parents. The boomers are taking care of their parents and they're taking care of their children. This is a hardship that we have not endured in a long period of time.

And what I've found lacking, I still find lacking is that there has to be a case, an effective case made against the last three-and-a-half years of Obama, because what they want to do is blame it on George Bush, and it's the failed policies Obama, the health care fiasco, the over-regulation, the class warfare that has been going on.

CAVUTO: That might resonate, sir, but as a Republican do you worry that somehow that isn't registering in the polls?

QUAYLE: Well, I don't think it has been effectively communicated, quite frankly.

You have to do it in a way that you tell a story and tell a story about a single mother that is struggling. Tell a story about a steelworker that is unemployed. Tell a story about a farmer who thinks of change. Tell a story about a person.

This is what has been lacking. And also what I think has been lacking is where is this opportunity society, growing the pie, letting people climb up the ladder, rather than fall off the cliff?

The rhetoric, the vision, the hope, it's just not quite there yet. I hope it comes rather quickly. I was hoping it would come at the convention. It started to, but it never really resonated.

I don't think it's going to be sufficient just to be against Obama. There is a lot of energy against Obama, because he is a very divisive, probably the most divisive president in my lifetime. So, there's a lot of people that are opposed to him. But you are not going to win a presidential election just being against. You have to be for.


CAVUTO: What do you think keeps him up in the polls?

QUAYLE: Keeps Obama up in the polls?

He is the incumbent president. You go back to -- Jimmy Carter was up in the polls until 10 days before the election in 1980.

CAVUTO: Michael Dukakis was ahead of you guys.

QUAYLE: Dukakis -- well, he was ahead of us going into our convention by about seven, eight points. And then we came out of our convention about five points ahead. In those days, you had bounces, big bounces.

CAVUTO: Yes. And they were a little spread out.

QUAYLE: Well, because campaigning didn't start so early.

This time, Obama decided to start...


CAVUTO: You think it's a matter of time before the truth, in your eyes, catches up with the reality?

QUAYLE: Well, but the truth has be communicated effectively.

And you have got to have a very good communication strategy that is going to touch the hearts of the American people and to say that if Romney would be president, he can bring people together and he will work to do that. He is the one that will help the person on welfare to get off welfare. He will help the person who needs to get a better-paying job. He's the one that understands how to grow the pie and create opportunities, because America is still an opportunity society.

We still have more opportunities in this country than anywhere in the world. Talk about it, articulate it, believe it. That's the vision, that's the story that will get Romney elected president.

CAVUTO: Vice President Quayle, it's always a pleasure. Thank you very, very much.

QUAYLE: Always glad to be here.

CAVUTO: Dan Quayle, you know the face. You know the guy.

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