Lloyd Bentsen

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Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Jr.

In office
January 20, 1993 – December 22, 1994
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Nicholas F. Brady
Succeeded by Robert Rubin

In office
January 3, 1971 – January 20, 1993
Preceded by Ralph Yarborough
Succeeded by Bob Krueger (interim for Kay Bailey Hutchison)

U.S. Representative for
Texas' 15th congressional district
In office
December 4, 1948 – January 3, 1955
Preceded by Milton West
Succeeded by Joe M. Kilgore

Born February 11, 1921
Mission, Texas
Died May 23, 2006
Houston, Texas
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Beryl Longino Bentsen (married 1943-2006, his death)
Children Two sons and one daughter
Alma mater University of Texas at Austin Law School
Occupation Lawyer

United States Army Air Forces in World War II (1942-1947)
Army Reserve (1950-1959)

Religion Presbyterian

Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Jr. (February 11, 1921 – May 23, 2006) was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for vice president in the 1988 presidential election. Previously he served as a United States Senator and U.S. Representative from Texas from 1971 to 1993 and thereafter until 1994 as Secretary of the Treasury under U.S. President Bill Clinton. Bentsen was involved from childhood with the Scouting at a young age, having earned the highest rank of Eagle Scout.[1]

Attacking Quayle

During the vice presidential debate in 1988, the question of whether Republican candidate Dan Quayle had enough experience to serve as Vice President came up for the third time in that debate, and Quayle answered it by comparing his congressional experience with that of John F. Kennedy when he sought the Presidency. Bentsen had known Kennedy while they were both serving in Congress, and used this fact in his sharp response:

"Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

Quayle responded simply that Bentsen's attack was "uncalled for," which Bentsen countered by blaming Quayle for bringing up the comparison in the first place. Quayle later admitted that his answer was inadequate to the challenge.

Coincidentally, Bentsen ran for vice president with presidential nominee Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts. Dukakis lost the race to George Herbert Walker Bush, whom Bentsen had defeated for the U.S. Senate in 19, after Bentsen toppled incumbent liberal senator, Ralph Yarborough in the primary election. Dukakis supposedly had sought to resurrect the successful Boston-Austin connection of the 1960 presidential election. And Bill Clinton who named Bentsen to his Cabinet had unseated the same George Bush whom Bentsen had defeated twenty-three years earlier.

Bentsen was a decorated World War II combat veteran, serving in the United States Army Air Forces. He was shot down in a bomber raid and rescued.

In his memoir, Clinton uses the condescending and disparaging language, "A pro-business Democrat who still cares for ordinary people" in reference to Bensten, who was considered moderate on economic issues but a liberal on social policy.[2]

From 1971 until 1985, Bentsen served in the Senate alongside the Moderate Republican Senator John Tower.

External links


  1. Lloyd Bentsen Quotes
  2. Bill Clinton, My Life (New York City: Knopf, 2004), p. 451.