‘Potatoe’ anniversary

The Trentonian’s Paul Mickle — now city editor — wrote about Dan Quayle’s “potatoe” mistake from twenty years ago today:

The Trentonian’s night reporter was arriving at the office and hearing the editor’s plea for a story suitable for page 1.

“What are you talking about? You’ve got the vice president in town today,’’ the reporter said.

“You know Quayle’s not going to say anything newsworthy,’’ the editor responded.

“I’m not talking about his political message. I’m saying watch for Quayle to foul up something,’’ the reporter said.

Soon after, the reporter who had covered Quayle’s Trenton tour showed up in the newsroom and was ask how the event had gone.

He said Quayle delivered the usual political pap, prompting the night reporter to holler out, “Yeah, but what did he foul up?”

“Well,’’ the reporter responded, “Quayle can’t spell potato.’’

The editor had his front-page story, complete with the only media interview with [sixth-grader William] Figueroa, who said the experience made him believe all the talk about the vice president being “an idiot.’’

Soon after the paper hit the streets, the scene in the Trenton classroom was playing on national television, just as Quayle had warned his wife it would be when he got home from Trenton the night before.

* Dan Quayle and the ‘potatoe’ kid (CapitalCentury.com)

[Mickle, who wrote this piece for The Trentonian in the late 1990s, tells me that David Miller was the night reporter who covered Quayle’s visit. He doesn’t know where the journalist is these days. David, are you out there?]