Swing State 2008: The Veepstakes

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Vice-president Notes & Quotes

John Nance “Cactus Jack” Garner famously said the vice presidency wasn’t worth a “warm bucket of spit” and he described his decision to serve two terms with FDR was the “worst damn fool mistake I ever made.’

Will Rogers: “The man with the best job in the country is the vice-president. All he has to do is get up every morning and say, 'How is the president?'”

Johnny Carson: "Democracy means that anyone can grow up to be president, and anyone who doesn't grow up can be vice president.”

The vice presidency was considered so insignificant during John Adams's day that he referred to the incumbent as, "His Superfluous Excellency."

Daniel Webster declined the nomination as Zachary Taylor's running mate, saying, "I do not choose to be buried until I am really dead."

When asked to name an idea Vice President Richard Nixon had contributed to his administration, President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded, "If you give me a week, I might think of one."

Ronald Reagan: "There is absolutely no circumstance whatever under which I would accept that spot. Even if they tied and gagged me, I would find a way to signal by wiggling my ears." --on possibly being offered the vice presidency in 1968

Bill Vaughn: The Vice-Presidency is sort of like the last cookie on the plate. Everybody insists he won't take it, but somebody always does.

Thomas R. Marshall: "Once there were two brothers: one ran away to sea, the other was elected Vice-President - and nothing was ever heard from either of them again."

Theodore Roosevelt: "I would a great deal rather be anything, say professor of history, than vice president."

Harry Truman: “Look at all the Vice Presidents in History. Where are they? They were about as useful as a cow's fifth teat."


Jason Johnson, Department of Political Science, Hiram College
David Cohen, Ray Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, University of Akron
Alvin Felzenberg, author, The Leaders We Deserved (And a Few We Didn't)

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