PLEDGE NOW
How Vice Presidents Matter

Mitt Romney and the VP pick. After Al Gore, Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin, we look at how Vice Presidents matter.

The Seal of the Vice President of the United States is used to mark correspondence from the U.S. vice president to other members of government, and is also used as a symbol of the vice presidency. The central design, directly based on the Seal of the President of the United States (and indirectly on the Great Seal of the United States), is the official coat of arms of the U.S. vice presidency and also appears on the vice presidential flag. (Wikipedia)

Photo illustration.  (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

American vice presidents are not all exactly household names. You remember vice president Hannibal Hamlin, right? And Danny Tompkins? Schuyler Colfax? Garret Hobart? Well, maybe not.

On the other hand, LBJ rode hard into history. Richard Nixon was veep and POTUS. So were a bunch of others. Dick Cheney made the imperial vice presidency. Sarah Palin made her name just by being on the ticket. Now Mitt Romney’s about to choose – in a time when the vice presidency is changing.

This hour, On Point: Veeps in history, the veepstakes now, and how vice-presidents matter.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Joel Goldstein, scholar of the Vice Presidency, Presidency, and Constitutional Law at St. Louis University.

From Tom’s Reading List

Center for Politics “One of the persistent ideas regarding vice presidential selection holds that presidential nominees seek running mates from large, competitive states. Guided by that assumption, the Great Mentioners invariably include many politicians from such states on the lists of prospective vice presidential candidates that they compose every four years. The premise seems to be that a running mate can minimally, at best, affect the national election returns but that a popular favorite son or daughter may help swing an important electoral block.”

The Washington Post “Running mates, by and large, are publicly discussed during the “veepstakes” as a way of balancing the ticket, or complementing the candidate. One might help broaden geographic  or ideological appeal: A northeastern liberal (John F. Kennedy, Michael Dukakis) chooses, say, a more conservative running mate from Texas (Lyndon B. Johnson, Lloyd Bentsen). Another might help emphasize a key campaign platform: Jack Kemp, the thinking went, would bolster Bob Dole’s standing on economic issues, while Al Gore reinforced Bill Clinton’s attributes as a young southern centrist from the baby boomer generation.”

History News Service “Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently denied any interest in being vice president, and that’s understandable.  To be taken seriously, a presidential contender must squelch talk that he or she is really targeting the second spot.”

The Drudge Report “President Obama whispered to a top fundraiser this week that he believes GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney wants to name Gen. David Petraeus to the VP slot!”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 27, 2016
Riot police block off the Albuquerque Convention Center to anti-Trump protests following a rally and speech by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the convention center where the event was held, in Albuquerque, N.M., Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Obama at Hiroshima. Turmoil at Trump rallies. Clinton’s emails, heating up. Sanders predicts a “messy” convention. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

May 27, 2016
In this Oct. 27, 2015, photo,  Big Muddy Farms, an urban farm in northern Omaha, Neb. is seen amongst residential homes. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, we’ve got top gardeners spilling the beans on how to grow everything.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 26, 2016
This March 16, 2015 photo shows portraits of now-retired U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Marshall Powell, right, and his wife, Arasi, at their home in Crescent, Okla. Powell suffers from a psychological wound called "moral injury" after serving as an Army nurse in Iraq and Afghanistan. Arasi, also a soldier who served in Iraq, had received treatment for PTSD. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

In advance of Memorial Day, we’ll talk with Sebastian Junger about vets coming home and missing their “Tribe.” Plus, a WWII veteran remembers life on and off and the battlefield.

 
May 26, 2016
This Jan. 26, 2016 file photo shows a "For Sale" sign hanging in front of an existing home in Atlanta.  Short of savings and burdened by debt, America's millennials are struggling to afford their first homes in the face of sharply higher prices in many of the most desirable cities. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

No more ’empty nest’. A third of millennials now live at home with their parents. We’ll look at what’s still pushing that trend.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
In The Garden, Mother Nature Makes The Rules
Friday, May 27, 2016

Executive producer Karen Shiffman explains why she turns to her garden for food, friends and natrual comfort.

More »
Comment
 
WWII Vet Larry Kirby Reflects On American Values
Thursday, May 26, 2016

Looking ahead to Memorial Day, a World War II veteran looks back at the experiences that mattered to him, both in and out of war.

More »
Comment
 
Gloria Steinem Explains Her ‘Bernie Boys’ Comment
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Feminist activist Gloria Steinem explains why her apparent diss of female supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders was anything but.

More »
Comment