this is his official portait as the nation's 69th Secretary of Treasury 1993-1994
Vice Presidential Debate 1988: Quayle stated that he had as much political experience as John F. Kennedy had when he ran for the presidency. Bentsen retorted, "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 by saying, "That was really uncalled for, Senator." Bentsen responded, "You're the one that was making the comparison, Senator
President Bill Clinton awarded Bentsen the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the nation's highest honors given to civilians.
Lloyd M. Bentsen, Jr:Sir its been a pleasure hearing you speak during your campaign for vice-president in 1988 and thank you for being a interesting secteratary of treasury under Clinton and helping John Kerry in 2004 for the presidency, thanks your great work,Remembering you 5 years later, may you rest in peace!
Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Jr. (February 11, 1921 – May 23, 2006) was a four-term United States senator (1971 until 1993) from Texas and the Democratic Party nominee for Vice President in 1988 on the Michael Dukakis ticket. He also served in the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1955. In his later political life, he was Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the U.S. Treasury Secretary during the first two years of the Clinton administration.
1988 Vice Presidential candidate
Bentsen was on Walter Mondale's short list of seven or eight possible vice presidential candidates in 1984 and was the only southerner and one of three white males considered. In the end, Mondale chose New York U.S. Representative Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate.
In 1988 Governor Michael Dukakis (Massachusetts) chose Bentsen to be his running mate in that year's presidential election, beating out Ohio Senator John Glenn who was considered the early favorite. Bentsen was selected in large part to secure the state of Texas and its electoral vote for the Democrats, even with fellow Texan George H. W. Bush at the top of the Republican ticket. Because of Bentsen's status as something of an elder statesman who was more experienced in electoral politics, many believed Dukakis's selection of Bentsen as his running mate was a mistake in that Bentsen, number two on the ticket, appeared more presidential than did Dukakis. One elector in West Virginia even cast a ballot for him rather than Dukakis, giving Bentsen one electoral vote for President.
Bentsen was responsible for one of the most memorable moments of the campaign during his televised debate with Republican vice presidential nominee Dan Quayle. Quayle stated that he had as much political experience as John F. Kennedy had when he ran for the presidency. Bentsen retorted, "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 by saying, "That was really uncalled for, Senator." Bentsen responded, "You're the one that was making the comparison, Senator."
Peter Goldman and Tom Mathews wrote in The Quest for the Presidency 1988 that Bentsen "was the forgotten man" of the campaign until the exchange with Quayle. Thereafter, his "gray solidarity" was "made luminescent by the pallor of the other three men. However, there have been questions raised as to how well Bentsen really knew Kennedy. Some have claimed they only had a nodding acquaintance. "
The Dukakis-Bentsen ticket lost the election. Bentsen was unable to swing his home state, with 43 percent of the Texas vote going for the Dukakis ticket while Bush and Quayle took 56 percent, despite the fact that Bentsen was simultaneously re-elected to the United States Senate with 59 percent of the vote.
Bentsen considered running for president in 1992, but he, along with many other Democrats, backed out because of Bush's apparent popularity following the successful Gulf War. (Bush ended up losing the election to Bill Clinton).
Secretary of the Treasury
Bentsen resigned from the Senate in January 1993 to serve as the 69th Secretary of the Treasury under Clinton from 1993 to 1994. Clinton's selection of Bentsen for his Cabinet was well-received in Congress and on Wall Street. However, it was criticized by some Democrats after a Republican, Kay Bailey Hutchison, won the special election in June 1993 for the year and a half left in Bentsen's term.
As a Senator, Bentsen had been a staunch advocate of reducing federal budget deficits. As Secretary of the Treasury, he was a principle architect and chief spokesman for Clinton's first budget which led to the economic expansion and falling deficits of the 1990s. He helped win crucial Republican votes to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Bentsen also was pivotal in winning passage of the 1994 crime bill which banned assault rifles.
After the resignation of Les Aspin in early 1994, Bentsen was seriously considered for the position of Secretary of Defense. This prospect, however, did not materialize and William Perry, then Deputy Secretary of Defense, was chosen to succeed Aspin.
In early December 1994, Bentsen announced his resignation as Secretary of the Treasury. Before election day he had discussed with President Clinton that he was not prepared to stay in office until 1996. He was succeeded in the position by Robert Rubin.
Later life and death
In 1998, Bentsen suffered two strokes, which left him needing a wheelchair for mobility. In 1999 President Clinton awarded Bentsen the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the nation's highest honors given to civilians. He appeared in the summer of 2004 at the portrait unveilings at the White House of former President Bill Clinton and former First Lady Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Bentsen died on May 23, 2006, at his home in Houston at the age of 85. He was survived by his wife, the former Beryl Ann Longino, three children, and six grandchildren. His funeral was held on May 30 at the First Presbyterian Church of Houston (where Bentsen and his wife had been members for many years) and is interred there in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery. Former president Bill Clinton, who was a close friend of Bentsen's, delivered a eulogy.
As a freshman Senator, Bentsen guided to passage the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), a long-stalled pension reform bill providing federal protections for the pensions of American workers. He also championed the creation of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), legislation improving access to health care for low income women and children, and tax incentives for independent oil and gas producers to reduce dependence on foreign oil.
As a primary architect of the Clinton economic plan, Bentsen contributed to a $500 billion reduction in the deficit, launching the longest period of economic growth since World War II. More than 5 million new jobs were created during his tenure as Secretary. The Clinton plan also helped the United States regain credibility and leadership among the other industrialized nations.
In recognition of his success in addressing a large shortfall in federal highway funding for Texas, two hundred seventy miles of U.S. Highway 59, from I-35 to I-45 in Texas (between Laredo and Houston, respectively), is officially named Senator Lloyd Bentsen Highway.
His legacy also includes many water, wastewater and other infrastructure projects in the impoverished Colonia of south Texas, the preservation of natural areas across the state, and major funding for medical facilities too numerous to list.
Bentsen's family continues to be active in politics. His nephew, Ken Bentsen, Jr., was a U.S. Representative (D) from 1995 to 2003 in Texas's 25th District, and a U.S. Senate candidate in 2002. His grandson, Lloyd Bentsen IV, served on John Kerry's advance staff during Kerry's 2004 campaign for the presidency of the United States.
He is also known for inventing the term astroturfing.
On January 22, 2009, the opening ceremony of the Senator Lloyd and B.A. Bentsen Stroke Research Center officially commenced in the Fayez S. Sarofim Research Build in the medical district of Houston, TX as part of the University of Texas Health Science Center of Houston. Notable speakers included Dr. Cheng Chi Lee and Houston Mayor Bill White.