Let’s Enjoy the Sickest VP Debate Burn in History (Video)

You know the one we mean

Last Updated: October 4, 2016 @ 10:24 AM

Whatever Mike Pence and Tim Kaine say to each other in tonight’s vice presidential debate, you can bet it won’t be as good as the legendarily sick burn that Lloyd Bentsen dropped on Dan Quayle in the VP debate on Oct. 5, 1988.

Bentsen was the Democrat, aligned with the not-exactly fiery Michael Dukakis. Quayle was the Republican, supposed to inject some Kennedy-esque swagger into the Republican ticket toplined by George H.W. Bush.

Quayle, it soon became clear, was painfully outclassed. We’ll just let you watch the video. If you’re over 40, you’ve seen it many, many times before, but somehow it never gets less effective. There’s a reason it’s re-posted and replayed endlessly around debate season.

If you’ve somehow never seen it before, watch Bentsen for a master class in timing and delivery.

Bentsen would later serve as Secretary of the Treasury under President Bill Clinton. But Quayle won in the end: He got to be vice president. Which just goes to show that maybe nothing anyone says in a VP debate matters all that much.

Dukakis tried to milk Bentsen’s cut-down of Quayle for all it was worth, saying Bush’s selection of Quayle raised questions about his judgment. Bush actually had a pretty solid comeback in the next presidential debate, albeit one that almost no one remembers.

“I’ve never seen a presidential campaign where the presidential nominee runs against my vice presidential nominee,” said Bush.