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tv   The Vice Presidency  CSPAN  May 3, 2021 10:52am-11:57am EDT

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1971. more than a thousand were arrested in a single day. we look back 50 years at the forces that collided on the streets. a white house at war, a revolt in the streets and the untold history of america's biggest mass arrest. watch tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern and watch american history tv every weekend on c-span3. next, a conversation on the history of the vice presidency. we'll hear from professor joel goldstein, author of the book "the white house vice presidency, the path to significance, mondale to biden." this took place on january 15,
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in ann arbor, michigan. >> good evening again. the timing of this is prescient as we are on the verge of seeing who the current nominees of the presidency will select as their running mates. some of you picked up copies of an article from the "wall street journal" recently as you entered the auditorium. it's on the impact of the vice presidential nominee on election results. for those of you who didn't pick up copies, we're having extras run right now and we'll have them for you after the program. tonight we're going to be discussing not just the electoral process but the evolving role of the vice presidency. and we have the honor of hosting professor joel goldstein, who is the author of a newly released book, "the white house vice presidency, the path of significance from mondale to biden. joel goldstein is a scholar of the presidency, the vice
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presidency and constitutional law, having written widely in all areas. he is consistently sought out by national and international media outlets for commentary insight, especially during the presidential campaigns. in fact, in a 2012 article in the "new york times," he was quoted as saying, my wife says that i am an exotic plant that blooms every four years. professor goldstein is best known for his work on the vice presidency. it came out of his doctoral work, his dissertation, and led to his first book which was "the modern vice presidency, the transformation of a political institution." over the years, he has authored numerous articles on the executive branch and admiral law. he received a doctorate in political science where he studied adds a rhodes scholar then a law degree from harvard law school where he was a noted
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editor for the harvard law review. he was a law clerk for a federal judge in massachusetts and then practiced admiralty law for 12 years in st. louis. he joined the st. louis school university of law, was a dean of faculty for three years and was awarded the immel vincent award in 2005. joel goldstein, the premiere chronicler of this special office. please help me welcome joel goldstein to the ford presidential library. [ applause ] .
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>> when most of you think about president ford, you probably think of him as our 23rd president, who served in the house of representatives, was minority leader for the house of representatives for eight years and was a good and decent public servant. when i think about him, i think about the fact that he was our 43rd vice president, a position he held for nine months, and probably the least happy period of his public service. but he was an important figure in the vice presidency. he was the first vice president appointed to the position through the 25th amendment which became part of the constitution in 1967. he was the second person to make an appointment of vice president under the 25th amendment. he was the ninth and the most recent vice president to succeed
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to the presidency following an unexpected presidential vacancy, and the only one of those people to succeed following a presidential resignation. and he is the only president in our history to seriously consider serving as vice president after he had already served as president. and although president ford's presidency and vice presidency really came before the period that i've called the white house vice presidency, he played an important part in developing and creating the office that we have today. we live in a period now where we have a very robust vice presidency. what's so striking about that in addition to the rather checkered history of the vice presidency for most of our history is that the vice presidency has grown to its current importance at a time when many of our other major political institutions are being
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met with increasing dissatisfaction. if you think about the current situation, vice president biden is completing the final year of a very consequential and involved vice presidency. if you look at what he has done simply in the past week or so, he traveled to iraq to meet with a disembattled prime minister. he went to italy where he met with officials of the italian government and he met with officials of the vatican, including pope francis. he spoke at a vatican conference on combatting disease. he's met privately with president obama on numerous times during the past week, including receiving the president's daily briefing each day. he had a private lunch with the president today and had two other events with him. he joined the president's meeting with vice president
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kerry within the last week. he met with panama on how to deal with security in central america. if you recall, the vice president's predecessor dick cheney, who came to attention as president ford's chief of staff, during his vice presidency, many people said they thought the vice presidency had become too powerful and spoke of an imperial vice presidency. and although i think that vice president cheney's power was exaggerated in the sense that i think he never was president or never was co-president and that his influence declined during the second term of president bush's administration, he clearly was a very, very significant vice president. but it didn't start with biden and cheney. in fact, the last six vice presidents over the last 40 years, ever since walter mondale was vice president, have really
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performed significant positions within the executive branch. the change in the vice presidency is institutional, it's not personal. the vice presidency has now become one of our government's most important and contributing institutions in the executive branch. not simply as a first presidential successor, but as a critical instrument of the presidency on an ongoing basis. it wasn't always this way. our first vice president, john adams, said that, my country in its wisdom has contrived for me the most significant office that a man's imagination conceived. i can do neither good nor evil. woodrow wilson was a political scientist before he became president. and in 1885, he wrote that the chief embarrassment in discussing the vice presidency is that when you've said how little there is to be said about it,
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rockefeller, disparaged his office's, quote, simple stand-by equipment in 1996. how did we get to president ford's limited powers in the vice presidency and rockefeller referred to as simply stand-by equipment in the mid-1970s to the very robust office we have today? what i want to do in the next
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few minutes is give a brief overview of the vice presidency as it existed for most of our history and then to sketch the office as it exists today, what i call the white house vice presidency, and then to make a few suggestions as to what i think we can learn from this transformation. the vice presidency wasn't one of the founding father's great successes. it was created for reasons that are now obsolete. the founders were concerned that it would be difficult to vote for a parochial president. they were worried the election would force voters in different states to vote for their state's favorite son rather than elect a national president. so in order to combat that concern, what they did is they created the original presidential election system, and they gave each elector two
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votes for president. but they agreed that the elector had to be someone from their home state. the vote that wasn't going to the home state's favorite son would actually produce a president. in essence, they created the vice presidency to provide an incentive for electors to vote seriously so there would be a consequence to their vote. there would be someone who would be elected to the second office. hugh williamson in north carolina, a delegate to the convention, said the vice presidency wasn't wanted, it was created simply to facilitate a valuable mode of a presidential election. well, alexander hamilton who recently has experienced something of a resurgence, wrote in 1768 that the presidential
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institution, including the vice presidency, is, if not perfect, at least excellent. i hesitate to take mr. hamilton on given his current standing, but i think history would demonstrate that he was wrong, at least in that judgment. by 1796, national parties had begun to form, and what they were doing was slating tickets of one candidate for president, one candidate for vice president. in 1800, thomas jefferson and aaron burr were running together with the understanding that jefferson was the presidential candidate, burr was the vice presidential candidate. but all the jefferson-burr voters voted for each one of them, so they ended up in a tie. while the jefferson votes were for jefferson and the burr votes were for president, it took a
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tiebreaker to vote for thomas jefferson for president, and they decided in the future whoever wanted to could bargain to make a deal with him, and therefore the vice presidential running mate is the president. they arranged to have the constitution amended and to enact the 12th amendment to the constitution which separated the election of president and vice president, so that the electors would vote not twice for president but would vote once for president and once for vice president. that change really eliminated the original reason to have the vice presidency, and the discussions you over the 12th amendment, some people said, we really should get rid of the vice presidency now. but they decided it was simpler to keep it than to get rid of it, so the vice presidency continued. it continued really entirely as a legislative office. the vice president's sole responsibility was to preside over the senate.
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at the philadelphia convention, roger sherman from connecticut said, if the vice president is not the president of the senate, he's want going to have anything to do. they agreed that the vice president would be the president of the senate, and that's what our vice presidents really, up until evelyn barkley, did. they spent most of their professional time presiding over the senate. but the senate, of course, didn't elect the vice president and they couldn't remove the vice president, so the senate was never interested in letting the vice president have much control. so the vice president would preside but really have no power over the senate. of course, the other function of the vice president was to serve as a presidential successor. but that was an entirely contingent role. so for most of our history, the vice presidency was pretty insignificant. vice presidents had little to do, so they looked for other
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things to keep themselves busy. richard mentor johnson, who was martin van buren's vice president, spent much of his time, when he wasn't presiding over the senate, running a tavern in washington. henry wilson, who was the second vice president, wrote history books during his vice presidency. and theodore roosevelt, who really didn't want to be vice president and said he would rather be just about anything other than vice president, it was too little work for a man of only 42 years old, thought that he might spend his vice presidency going to law school. in the 19th century and to the 20th century, the convention chose the running mate. they generally chose the running mate in order to balance the ticket either on idealogical grounds or geographical grounds.
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sometimes you would have presidential candidates and vice presidential candidates who disagreed, were on opposite sides of major issues of the day. sometimes the vice presidency was used as part of a deal to secure the presidential nomination for a candidate. sometimes a politician from a swing state was chosen as the vice presidential candidate. between 1904 and 1916, there were eight vice presidential candidates. five of them were from the state of indiana. oftentimes the vice presidential candidates in the 19th century were really pretty undistinguished people. chester arthur, who was james garfield's vice president before he succeeded president garfield, before he became vice president, the highest position he had ever held was as the collector of customs in the port of new york.
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garrett hobart, who he was president mckinley's first vice president, had never held any public office other than state legislature in the state of new jersey. william king, who was franklin pierce's vice president, actually did have a lot of experience, but he was very sick when he was chosen to be vice president. in fact, so sick that he had resigned from the senate because he couldn't continue to perform his role in the senate and he died soon after his election. being vice president wasn't a good career move for somebody in most of the 19th century. only three 19th century vice presidents were elected to a second term. and none after 1836, although five presidents in the period from 1828 to 1900 were elected to a second term, none with the same vice president. the four vice presidents who succeeded to the presidency in
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the 19th century, none of them were re-elected or were elected to their own term as president. and the vice presidency wasn't a good presidential springboard. when daniel webster was offered a position on the 1848 ticket with zachary taylor, he refused, saying, i don't propose to be buried until i'm dead. it wasn't the wisest move of his career. he always wanted to be president, but he died and willard fillmore became president. in the succession of president jackson, until 1998 when george w. bush was selected to succeed ronald reagan, no sitting vice
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president was ever elected to the presidency, and other than john breckenridge in 1856, none was nominated to seek the presidency by a major party until richard nixon was in 1960. there was a common joke that was told about two sons. one went out to sea, one became vice president. neither was ever heard from again. but at the beginning of the 20th century, the vice presidency began to take some sort of baby steps forward, and towards the executive branch. president warren harding invited his vice president, calvin coolidge, to meet with the cabinet. the move was controversial at the time, but vice president coolidge did meet with harding's cabinet, and that became something of a tradition. franklin roosevelt used john
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nance garner as a residential liaison and sent him on some foreign trips before they had a falling out during the second term. president roosevelt used his second vice president, henry wallace, and made him the head of the bureau of economic warfare in world war ii, but wallace butted heads with the president of the cabinet and was dropped from the 1944 ticket. president roosevelt's third vice president, harry truman, had very limited contact with president roosevelt during truman's vice presidency. in fact, he wasn't told about the truman project when one of his advisors took him aside and said, mr. president, i think there is something you need to know about. well, the changes in american government in politics that were associated with the new deal and
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with world war ii ended up having an effect on the vice presidency. they strengthened the presidency, they weakened the political parties and they had an effect of pulling the vice presidency into the executive branch. as expectations of the presidency increased in the nuclear age and in the cold war, as the president was expected to conduct a more robust foreign policy, and as technology made foreign travel more possible, vice presidents began to be sent on diplomatic missions, they began to take on other tasks in the executive branch. beginning in 1940, the president got the power, really, to designate who his running mate would be at the convention. so the office really began to move into the executive branch beginning with the vice presidency of richard nixon in
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1953. his office was still at the capitol building, but nixon spent almost no time presiding over the senate, he spent most of the time going to meetings in the executive branch, meeting with president eisenhower's cabinet, the national security council. he would go for a month or two months on a foreign trip doing political work for the president, heading executive branch commissions and so forth. and vice president nixon's successors, lyndon johnson, hubert humphrey, spiro agnew and rockefeller. they took on more functions in the executive branch, sharing commissions, making trips for the president, doing political work. other than vice president agnew, i think all of these people were
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really among the leaning political figures of their political generation. and the vice presidency became a better presidential springboard and it became attractive to able people for that reason. nixon and hubert humphrey were nominated to seek the presidency, and spiro agnew was the frontrunner for 1986 in gallup polls until he had to resign from office. but during this period from nixon to rockefeller, there were still limitations. the primary focus on the vice presidency was to provide a successor. the work vice presidents took on tended to be episodic, it tended to be peripheral. the vice president wasn't a part of the president's inner circle, and vice presidents tended to feel rather underutilized and frustrated with their positions. but president eisenhower wanted
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to dump vice president nixon from the ticket in 1956. he suggested to him that he might chart his own course and that his political future might be brighter if he took a cabinet position, but vice president nixon had no desire to leave the vice presidency. later in august of 1960 when vice president nixon was running for president and was suggesting that a reason that people should vote for him instead of senator john kennedy from massachusetts was that he had such extensive experience as vice president. president eisenhower was asked at a press conference if he could name a single idea that vice president nixon had contributed to the administration, and president eisenhower got sort of irritated, and he said, i don't know. if you give me a week, i might think of one. i don't know. at the first presidential debate, vice president nixon was asked about this, because more
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than a week had passed and the president hadn't come forward and suggested any ideas. lyndon johnson said that president kennedy treated him well, but he had no contact with him. when he was in his presence, he felt like he was a raven around his head. president johnson made sure that vice president humphrey had a miserable time as vice president. after vice president humphrey early on expressed some disagreement or some different views about how the united states should handle matters in vietnam, president johnson stopped inviting him to meetings to discuss vietnam. some of you may recall there was a political satirist named tom lear who wrote a song "whatever
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became of you, hubert?" and some part of the song says, the second fiddle you don't even know when they don't give you a bow. the president contested spiro agnew. early on there would be conferences where president nixon would be talking to bob haldeman, and they would say agnew wants to meet with you, and president nixon would say the president doesn't meet with the vice president. that's not how it works. that's not his job, that's not part of the deal. president ford's nine months as vice president were probably the least happy time of his public service. he took on some commission work,
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but he spent much of the time traveling around the country trying to help candidates who were hurt by the watergate scandal and staying as far away from it as he could. then when he designated nelson rockefeller as his vice president, president ford really wanted to try and do something with the vice presidepresidency. he liked nelson rockefeller, he admired his ability, he wanted to make use of him. he wanted to make vice president rockefeller's staff feel welcome. he felt the ford vice presidential staff had not been included, and he wanted to make sure that wasn't repeated. yet it didn't work out that way. at governor rockefeller's request, president ford made vice president rockefeller the head of the domestic council. many vice president rockefeller thought if he was the head of the domestic council, he would be to domestic affairs what
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henry kissinger was to foreign policy. but there were all sorts of problems. the domestic cabinet officials didn't want to report to the president through the vice president. chief of staff donald rumsfeldt thought if henry kissinger was running policy and he was running the domestic council, who was there left for him? it had to run through regular channels and not just the vice president, so the whole experience of having the vice president running the domestic council didn't work. vice president rockefeller, notwithstanding the good relationship between president ford and vice president rockefeller, he wasn't consulted on many important matters, and ultimately he was dropped from the ticket in 1976.
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and the last time that a vice president hasn't been asked to run for re-election or election with the president. well, it's worth pausing to ask why it didn't follow in the presidential regime because president ford really wanted it to happen. i think it didn't happen in part because they started with the wrong division of the office. president rockefeller's idea was that he could be powerful if he had a particular piece of the government to run. and yet by taking that view of the office, he really ended up buying a bunch of problems for himself. he created competition with the
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president's staff. he took the action that if he did something the president didn't agree with, he took action to the vice president. i think the reason the vice president didn't develop during the ford administration was that vice president rockefeller really wasn't cut out to be number two. he was an able person, but he had never been a number two. he had been governor of new york for 14 years and he wasn't suited by his experience or by his temperament to be a follower. third, the politics between the two of them were wrong. although they were personally compatible, politically he was not compatible with president ford on many major initiatives. at a time when president ford was trying to cut the deficit and to rein in spending, vice president rockefeller was
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proposing ambitious spending proposals. and then on top of that, he was challenged by governor reagan. they had no use for rockefeller going bay back to the 1964 campaign, so vice president rockefeller really became a serious political liability for the president. and then on top of that, there was conflict between the vice president and the president's staff. vice president rockefeller became convinced that the chiefs of staff donald rumsfeldt and dick cheney were really out to get him. when the vice president's residence was opened in 1975 or 1976, vice president rockefeller had a series of parties to introduce people to the new vice
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president's residence, and supposedly everybody in town was invited to one of those parties except for the chief of staff dick cheney. and then the other problem that the ford administration had was that vice president rockefeller wasn't there for a lot of the administration. he wasn't able to participate in the early stages of the ford administration. by the time he came into the administration, relationships had already been formed, patterns of dealing had already been set. it was too late. well, the change in the vice presidency really came with jimmy carter and walter mondale in 1977. and this was the creation of what i've called the white house vice presidency. governor carter thought of himself as sort of a fiduciary for the american people.
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as a small businessman, he thought that the vice presidency had been a wasted asset, that it was a shame to have a senior official and not to be putting him to use. and he also thought it was immoral for a vice president not to be engaged and prepared. he was haunted by the experience of president truman, of not having been included in discussions during the roosevelt presidency. well, governor carter secured the nomination early on. actually, it was in early june of 1976, about five weeks before the democratic convention. and he took the selection of a running mate seriously. he engaged in a serious vetting process. he had his closest confidant, charles curber, an atlanta lawyer as vice presidential candidates. he thought he need to do run off a congressman to broaden his own vast experience in the federal
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government. although he had original reservations about walter mondale, thought he was too liberal, was bothered by the fact mondale had pulled out early from the presidential race. when they met in early july, about eight days before the democratic convention, they hit it off. carter became very impressed with mondale, and he thought that mondale had the experience and the resources that carter needed. he was popular -- he knew his way around the district of columbia, he was popular in congress, he was popular with liberals, and president carter, governor carter, took an inclusive approach to mondale and his campaign team even during the campaign. in the 1976 presidential campaign, governor carter and president ford agreed to debate, and they invented for the first time the idea -- the institution of a vice presidential debate, which we've had in every presidential election since except for 1980. and in the vice presidential
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debate, mondale was deemed to have done much better than senator bob dole. afterwards, carter's campaign manager said mondale added about 3% to carter's ticket, and in his speech during the campaign, carter mentioned mondale and talked about what he was capable of. then for the first time in history, carter involved mondale in the transition, involved him in meeting cabinet officers, in setting the policy for the administration and so forth. and he went out of his way to signal that mondale would be an important part of the administration. given that he had picked a running mate who he was personally compatible with, given that he picked a running mate who he felt idealogically compatible with, given that he
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picked somebody who he thought could add needed resources to his administration, and given that he had picked somebody who he thought was able and was both a leader and a follower, i think the other thing that was critical was the vision of the vice presidency that vice president mondale came up with. it was really about 180 degrees from the vision that nelson rockefeller had had, whereas vice president rockefeller's view was that everything about the vice presidency turned on the fact that the vice president was the first presidential successor. what vice president mondale tried to do was deemphasize the fact that he was the first presidential successor and think about ways he could make the vice presidency an ongoing, substantive position that was not focused on providing a successor to the president but in helping the president succeed. and that step really changed the
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psychology between the president and the vice president, and even more between the president's staff and the vice president. the idea of mondale wanted was to be an advisor and troubleshooter where he would advise the president on matters across the board and would take on assignments for the president, but he didn't want to own anything. he thought if he owned a part of the program that he would alienate whoever was giving up that part of the program, that presidents tended to give them trivial matters because if they failed, they would be reduced. he thought if he gave him
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assignments, it would take his time and attention away from advising the president and from helping the president on matters that were central to the presidency. but in order for the vice presidency to succeed in this way, vice president mon dale and president carter concluded that the vice president needed a new set of resources. he needed to have access to the president. he needed the same information that the president had, including the national security briefings. he needed to be part of the decision-making process and the staff needed to be part of the decision-making process. he needed to have adequate support from the vice presidential staff and from the presidential staff so that they would respond to his requests. and they needed to have the president's visible and consistent support. and president carter agreed to everything vice president mondale asked. they developed a pattern of
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having a weekly private lunch. president carter directed that vice president mon dale would get every document that he got. he directed that vice president mondale had the right to come into the oval office whenever he wanted without an invitation, he could attend any meeting on the president's schedule. he appointed members of the vice president's staff to the national security council, the domestic council, and then he went beyond it. he gave vice president mondale things he hadn't asked for. he gave the vice president an office in the west wing of the white house. he sent over a floor plan of the west wing and said, pick any office you want other than the oval office. and then he also told his staff two things. he said that you should always treat a request from the vice president as if it's a request from the president, and if
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anyone ever undercuts the vice president, they'll lose their job. well, the carter-mondale term really brought the vice president for the first time into the white house both physically and into the inner circle of the presidential decision making. because president carter was seen to value vice president mondale, others valued vice president mondale. other people wanted to deal with the vice president because they knew he had access, they knew he had influence with the president, they knew that if they could convince the vice president that they had a better chance of convincing the president. and because other people dealt with the vice president in this manner, the vice president's value to the president increased as well. well, subsequent vice presidents adopted really and presidents adopted a very similar model. really all the vice presidents
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from bush on have followed essentially the model that president carter and vice president mondale established. vice president bush, after having competed with president reagan, after being chosen despite the fact that the reagans had misgivings about him, developed a very good relationship with president reagan. after the assassination attempt on president reagan's life in 1981, vice president bush was viewed by even the president's closest people to have handled himself with the greatest sensitivity and tact and competence. he took on a number of important diplomatic missions for the president. he became a close presidential advisor. he was -- he really subordinated his ambitions, especially during the first term, to the president, and throughout the administration was extremely loyal to the president.
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when he became president, he set up the same sort of relationship with vice president dan quayle. vice president quayle met with the president every day for his national security small meeting and then for a small meeting with his chief of staff. he had the weekly lunch and he served as a valuable legislative and political advisor and operator for president bush. al gore became president clinton's closest advisor, probably, for most of his presidency. in addition took on some significant portfolios during the clinton presidency. he was in charge of environment, telecommunications, he was in charge of reinventing government which was an initiative that was very important to president clinton. he chaired a commission with the prime minister of russia at a time when there was a concern that boris yeltsin was unstable.
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he thought it was important to develop a relationship at other levels. so chairing the commission became a place where business with the soviet union was done. vice president cheney started off his term with some unique advantages. unlike the other vice presidents during this period, he had really served in major positions in the executive branch as chief of staff under president ford, as secretary of defense under the first president bush in the house of representatives and on the house leadership ladder during the reagan presidency. he chaired the vice presidential selection and then participated and shared the transition.
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and after 9/11, vice president cheney became even more essential. he played a leading role in the bush administration with respect to national security matters especially, with respect to the war on terror, with respect to energy and economic matters. his power, i think, declined during the second term for a variety of reasons. but throughout his two terms, he was somebody who was among the people that the president listened to. and vice president biden has continued in our history. in the beginning of the administration, he was charged with implementing the recovery act, the disengagement from iraq. he later negotiated the various budget deals with senator mcconnell, has continued to be a close advisor to the president, has taken on numerous diplomatic missions for the president.
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so all of these administrations have worked across the board as advisors and troubleshooters. some have emphasized diplomacy, others have emphasized perhaps legislative work, but they've all taken on roles to try to help the president on an ongoing basis. let me suggest in closing some lessons from this history. the first lesson is that the vice presidency matters. it's a position of significance. it's not primarily a presidential successor, though it serves that function, but it's an ongoing position of importance. across the board, an advisor with political skills, a high-level troubleshooter,
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somebody who can give the president help that the president needs. it provides the president with an invaluable asset to make his or her administration succeed. second, because of the significance of the vice presidency, it now matters who is the vice president and who the vice presidential candidates are. i haven't talked much about vice presidential selection, and, of course, that's part of the national conversation now. but who is selected as the vice presidential running mate is enormously important now, and the factors that ought to be considered are whether or not there is somebody who has the leadership ability to be president, not someday but now. whether they can enhance the administration by the quality that they would bring to it. not all of the political considerations that are talked about. third, the change in the vice
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presidency is, i think, institutional, enduring and constitutional in a sense. and what's significant about this is that the change in the vice presidency really doesn't depend -- hasn't depended on any change in constitutional amendment in recent times or any change in statutory law. it's rather been a change in behavior. it's been an example of establishing behaviors during the carter-mondale administration, largely, and other administrations, copying them, improving upon them, strengthening them. fourth, that in order to make -- to improve institutions the way the vice presidency has been improved, leadership matters. it's not enough to want to improve something. it's also critical that you make -- that you really come to understand the institution that you're trying to improve, that you have a workable vision of
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the institution, that the i am -- implementation process of that vision be done sensibly and successfully and that it be transmitted to successors. finally, i would say that the story i would tell of the modern vice presidency and really the story of my book is really an optimistic one. because if you can take the office that has been the most disparaged office in our history, and at the time when our other institutions are suffering and are losing public confidence, if this office can improve and become significant, really, for the first time in our history as it has over the last 40 years, then perhaps there is some hope that we can turn some of our other institutions into a way that is more pleasing to us so that they better serve our needs. so i would be happy to take any
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questions or to hear any thoughts that people have. there is a microphone at the back. >> -- after they leave office? >> well, it's a range of -- the question was what happens to vice presidents after they leave office. it depends on each person as a different story. i mean, vice president mondale lost in 1984 -- in 1980, practiced law and ran for president. vice president bush became president. vice president quayle tried twice to run for president unsuccessfully. vice president gore lost the presidency, won a nobel prize.
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vice president cheney left office and became a public critic of the administration and remained a vocal and visible figure in the national discourse. i think they've done different things. defeated vice presidential candidates. warren became chief justice of the united states. paul ryan became speaker of the house. ed muskie became secretary of state. it's really been a range and many of them have been very distinguished for their careers. >> my question deals with some of the things you mentioned about the 25th amendment in chapter 13, and i'd like to respond to two criticisms i've heard of the 25th amendment, one that the second section of it allows for having a president and vice president, neither of whom are elected, which, of
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course, has happened, and that some criticize. but also then section 4, that some critics would say in spite of -- if i can quote one of your sentences here, when a president is unconscious yet remains power of the vice president, he may october only in compelling circumstances. in spite of that, some critics would say it's unwise that we have put into the constitution a way for the vice president of the cabinet, and yes, in a secondary role, the congress to overthrow a president. if you could respond to those two criticisms, please. >> sure. the 25th amendment, section 2 is the provision that says that where there is a vice presidential vacancy for any reason, the president can nominate a vice president, and the vice president takes office upon confirmation by the house and the senate. and so during the ford
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administration, of course, president ford became vice president through the 25th amendment and then vice president mondale became president, and the criticism was that neither of them had run in a national election. that's certainly true. by the same token, they both received an awful lot of scrutiny. the theory behind the 25th amendment is that the president is entitled to choose somebody who reflects his or her idealogy, so that the theory was -- and many liberal democrats voted for vice president ford on the theory that even though they disagreed with him politically, they thought that he was -- his views were consistent on most issues with president nixon, so that he reflected sort of the nixon election of 1972.
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and, similarly, his appointment of rockefeller then reflects the same trend. but i think the idea is that the senators and the congressmen really serve as a surrogate for the electorate. it's hard to come up with a perfect system. the alternative would be to have special elections, and that has a whole host of problems. and i think most people thought that the 25th amendment in 1973-'74 worked quite well, because given that you had a democratic speaker at the time and you had president nixon facing impeachment, that it would have been more difficult to remove a president if you couldn't put in a vice president who was from the same party. with respect to section 4 -- section 3 provides a system where the president can voluntarily turn power over to the vice president if the president is disabled. section 4 deals with a situation where if the president is either
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unwilling or unable to declare his or her own inability, the vice president and the cabinet can say that the president is disabled, and then the vice president acts as president until the president is able to return to power. and, sure, there is a risk of the vice president and the cabinet throwing the president out. on the other hand, there is a risk -- you need to have some system. the 24th amendment was really a check on the vice president by having the cabinet participate in the process. before some people thought the vice president would have the unilateral power to declare the president's disability. in fact, president eisenhower, who took these issues very seriously following his three disabilities, wrote a letter to vice president nixon and basically said, if ever i become disabled to a point where i can't declare my own disability,
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it's your decision as to whether or not i'm disabled, i'll retain the right to come back when i think i'm able to come back again, but if a group of doctors say i'm not able, then you should conclude the presidency and move into the white house. in some ways i think joining the vice president with the president's cabinet, the people the president has appointed to office, should give the president a fair amount of security. i mean, it's hard to come up with a perfect system. at some point one has to rely on people to act as patriots and to use good judgment, and hopefully that's what will happen. >> welcome. >> thank you. >> my question deals with the cost of making a questionable choice for a vice president, and i'm thinking, really, of john mccain with a very honorable,
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heroic military career, a long, dedicated, determined legislative career and reputation picking someone like sarah palin who really was a very lightweight in the political world, and i just wonder if you think that is going to be held against mccain mccain's record or just seen as a crazy blip in his career. >> i think it's clearly part of his biography, and i think it's been something that he's been criticized for. i mean, i think that he thought that in order to have a chance for election, his advisors apparently told him that he needed to pick a woman. and he really very much wanted to pick senator lieberman as his running mate, apparently, but he became convinced, first, that he couldn't get lieberman through the republican convention, and second, that a mccain-lieberman
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ticket would lose. so he thought that governor palin might help him energize the base of the republican party, attract women to vote who were disgruntled because they felt that senator clinton had been mistreated by the democratic party and might then be attracted to the palin candidacy. i think it was a miscalculation by senator mccain, and i think it was really bad politics as well. i think ultimately the best politics is to choose somebody who people can visualize serving as president. i mean, if you can't visualize somebody sitting in the oval office, then it's likely to hurt. it may hurt only at the margins, but the other way in which it hurts, and i think in a way that political scientists really aren't very good at measuring,
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is that it's part of -- it forms part of our opinion of the selector so that when people choose their running mate, particularly if they're new, that when they choose their running mate, this ismate, this is their first presidential decision. if they choose someone not viewed as being presidential, they choose through a process that's not viewed as presidential, it sends a message about their values or about their decision-making that can be troubling. so, i think it was -- it was a mistake on his part. there are reasons why presidential candidates might not choose people who are unqualified in the future, including the vice presidential debate and the fact that it's hard to hide a vice presidential candidate these days. >> hello, thank you for coming. that was actually going to be my question so i'm glad i had a backup question. obviously, we're in an election year this year.
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one probably like no one in this room has seen. with hillary clinton probably going to be getting the democratic nominee -- the nomination, i kind of have an idea -- i have sort of an idea who she might pick as her vice presidential pick. probably someone in washington now. i am really, really curious who you think donald trump is going to choose as his vice presidential pick in that do you think he's going to choose someone from the inside, someone that has senate experience or congressional experience, which he has indicated, to someone that would make up -- and i don't want to be offensive, lack of public policy knowledge? >> well, i don't have a clue who he's going to pick. [ applause ]
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i would be wrong virtually every time. it's hard to predict for a number of reasons. one is you don't know what the context is going to be of the -- when the selections are going to be made. the selections will probably be made in july some time before the two conventions. so, we don't know what the situation will be. to what extent will the republican party be disunified. we also don't know who will be the pool of available candidates. what will mr. trump's options be? what will he perceive as his greatest needs and to what extent can he fulfill those needs by picking one of the options? so, it's really difficult to figure it out. i mean, he said, as you point out, that he would pick -- he's
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likely to pick somebody who's a politician. a pattern that has really developed is that political outsiders, or outsiders to washington, governors, are general, like general eisenhower, always pick washington insiders. the last time we had two governors run together was in 1948 with thomas dewy and earl warren. since then every governor has picked either somebody who had served in congress or who served in the executive branch. so, based -- based on that, one would expect that perhaps mr. trump would follow that pattern. that would also be a way of bringing a national security credential onto the ticket. one of the difficulties he has is that there was one member of the senate who endorsed his candidacy, and typically members of the house -- mean, representative ryan was a relatively rare choice, but
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representatives are usually not taken. when they are taken, it tends to -- with the exception of the ryan selection, it tends to indicate that the ticket is a weaker ticket and couldn't get an executive or senate branch official or governor. go back to the short answer, i don't have a clue. >> no more questions? >> thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thank you, thank you. weeknights this month we're fear touring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. tonight we take a look back to when tens of thousands of anti-vietnam war protesters, young people and military veterans alike, converged on washington, d.c., in the spring of 1971.
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more than 7,000 of them were arrested in a single day. american history tv and c-span's washington journal look back 50 years at the forces that collided on the capital streets. our guest is investigative journalist lawrence roberts, author of "mayday 1971 a white house at war, revolt in the streets and untold history of america's biggest mass arrest." watch tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern and watch american history tv every weekend on c-span3. former vice president and u.s. senator walter mondale dayed on april 19th at the age of 93. coming up on c-span's american history tv, we'll look back at his life starting with a 2015 conversation he had with former president jimmy carter. after that, mr. mondale's 1984 democratic national convention acceptance speech when he ran for president against ronald reagan.
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♪♪ next a 2015 conversation between walter mondale and former president jimmy carter who served together in the white house from 1977 to 1981. this program was part of a tribute to the former vice president hosted by the university of minnesota's humphrey school of public affairs. moderating the conversation is richard moe, mr. mondale's former chief of staff.


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