Jul 1, 6:54 PM (ET)


RENO, Nev. (AP) - Former Vice President Dan Quayle said Tuesday he respects Democrat Barack Obama "because he beat the Clintons" and fears Republican John McCain has an "uphill battle" to defeat Obama in November's presidential election.

Quayle also acknowledged that he expected Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Mitt Romney would meet in the general election.

"I don't think anyone saw, including myself, the Barack Obama movement" coming, he said.

"I have a lot of grudging respect for what he did because he beat the Clintons, something we couldn't do in 1992," said Quayle, a former GOP senator from Indiana who served under President George H.W. Bush. "The Clintons were very convincing in the campaign they ran. So I thought she would be the candidate.

"I think she made obviously some very tactical mistakes," Quayle continued. "One, underestimating Obama. And, two, the whole inevitability that 'I am entitled to the nomination' ended up hurting her quite dramatically."

Quayle spoke to reporters on a teleconference call promoting the 19th annual American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Lake Tahoe, where he planned to compete July 11-13.

Quayle said Tuesday that he thought a year ago Romney "would have been an outside of Washington candidate who had a very good chance, but for various reasons, never did catch on."

He said it's not a good year to be a Republican, but that he was pulling for McCain.