Dump Quayle? Never Crossed His Mind

CALL IT THE STEALTH DENIAL. Former President George Bush has prepared a statement denying a new book's claim that he considered dumping Vice-President Dan Quayle from the 1992 Republican ticket. But the statement has gone unnoticed until now. Why? Because Bush's office decided not to distribute it to the media unless asked for comment. And so far, BUSINESS WEEK is the only news organization to ask.

According to GOP insiders, Quayle called Bush and hit him up to refute publicly the book's assertion. Excerpts from Quest for the Presidency 1992, by a team of Newsweek staffers, recently appeared in the magazine. A furious Quayle complained in a phone call to the ex-Prez that the book could undermine his 1996 Presidential hopes, say people close to both men. Bush never flatly denied to Quayle that he pondered dumping him, the intimates say. But Bush's statement declares: "I never gave any consideration to removing Dan Quayle from the 1992 ticket."

Several Bush White House and campaign types say privately Bush's reluctance to publicize his denial is no surprise. Says a former adviser: "It was well-known we tried to push Dan. But he wouldn't jump."

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