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WASHINGTON, D.C.–When George H.W. Bush chose then-Senator from Indiana Dan Quayle, as his running mate in 1988, very people knew who Quayle was. Even the Indiana Republican establishment was surprised by Bush’s choice. 

But, Bush had been vice president for eight years under Pres. Reagan, and Quayle says he was always gracious and kind to him.

“What he said to me on the steps of the capitol as we said goodbye to Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan, he turned to me in sort of his low voice and said ‘That man was good to me,’” said Quayle, in an appearance on Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures. “I can say that today. That man, George Bush, was good to me.”

Hear tape from Quayle’s selection in New Orleans:

Audio titled Quayle Stuff by 93WIBC

In 1988, Quayle was a U.S. Senator, but was still not well-known.

“When Bush came to Indiana on various trips as vice president, he heard very good things about Quayle,” said Ball State History Prof. Nicole Etcheson.

When Bush picked Quayle as his running mate, many people wondered why.

“It’s a bold stroke. It’s something that’s going to strike people as un-Bush-like,” said former Indianapolis mayor Bill Hudnut, speaking with WIBC by phone from the Republican National Convention in New Orleans in 1988.

“It’s risky in the sense that he’s an unknown quality. But, he’s gonna get known very quickly,” said Hudnut. “People are gonna like him. He’s a very engaging guy and he’s good looking. I just think that in every sense of the word he’ll be a good candidate to run with George Bush.”

Quayle said Bush was always gracious, having spent eight years as vice president himself.

“I was very very fortunate. He had been vice president for eight years and he knew the good things about being vice president and the not-so-good things about being vice president. So, that was a blessing from my perspective.”

Quayle said Bush knew how to handle enemies and treat friends, and his list of accomplishments proves the point.

“He was a great individual, a great president. He loved his family. He loved his work. He loved his country.”

PHOTO: CNN Newsource