90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
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
Oct 31, 2014
Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  (AP)

Quarantines and Ebola. An exploding rocket. Apple’s CEO comes out. Hawaiian lava flows. Midterms in the home stretch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Oct 31, 2014
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) and Sauncho Smilax (Beninico del Toro) share a drink in a scene from the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

From “Interstellar” to “Into the Woods.” The biggest and best movies of the fall and holiday seasons. What to see, what to skip.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 31, 2014
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) and Sauncho Smilax (Beninico del Toro) share a drink in a scene from the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

From “Interstellar” to “Into the Woods.” The biggest and best movies of the fall and holiday seasons. What to see, what to skip.

 
Oct 31, 2014
Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  (AP)

Quarantines and Ebola. An exploding rocket. Apple’s CEO comes out. Hawaiian lava flows. Midterms in the home stretch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Three: What Is The Dow Jones Industrial Average?
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

We dig in to that all-important, all-confusing daily stock notice: the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 31, 2014
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

We tumble for ya, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Tuco the Massachusetts K-9 Unit puppy in training.

More »
1 Comment
 
Awards Season 2014: The Movies Worth Your Time
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

What movies should you watch before 2014 comes to a close? Our critics offer their picks for the movies of the season right here.

More »
Comment