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Dan Quayle is a Mother

Dan Quayle is a Mother Political Busy Beaver Button Museum
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Dan Quayle is a Mother
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Vice President Dan Quayle gave a speech on May 19, 1992 that was titled Reflection on Urban America, but became widely known as the “Murphy Brown" speech. The speech came after the Los Angeles riots, which began after a jury acquitted four police officers of excessive force in the arrest of Rodney King. Quayle reflected that the unrest and poverty in the United States was linked to the breakdown of the family unit. He specifically referenced Murphy Brown, a popular TV show character of the time depicted as an intelligent journalist and single mother, in a negative fashion. Reactions both in favor of and against the message of the speech poured in from the American people afterwards. Many public figures and newspapers at the time reproached Quayle for condemning single mothers. The speech had long lasting effects for nearly a decade as people continued to lament the deterioration of the family unit. The reference to call someone "a mother" in this way is an inference to a swear word.


Bergesen, A., & Herman, M. (1998). Immigration, Race, and Riot: The 1992 Los Angeles Uprising. American Sociological Review, 63(1), 39-54. Retrieved February 2, 2021, from

Brockell, G. (2018). How ‘Murphy Brown’ became a target for Dan Quayle’s moralizing. Washington Post. Retrieved from

Coontz, S. (2005). For Better, For Worse. Washington Post. Retrieved from

Fortin, J. (2018). That Time ‘Murphy Brown’ and Dan Quayle Topped the Front Page. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Hartman, A. (1992). Editorial: Murphy Brown, Dan Quayle, and the American Family. Social Work, 37(5), 387-388. Retrieved February 2, 2021, from

Quayle, "Murphy Brown," Speech Text - Voices of Democracy. Retrieved 2 February 2021, from

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