Election Connection

The Running Mate Game

In the calm before the storm of the conventions starts later in August, the media is keeping busy speculating over vice presidential picks for Sens. Obama and McCain.

A VP pick rarely makes a huge difference in the way campaigns are run, but with current Vice President Dick Cheney's increased role in White House politics during the Bush administration, there's more of a focus on the number two slot now than ever in recent history.

A look back on Gwen Ifill's interview with Cheney and his former House colleagues just after Bush chose him as running mate in 2000 sheds light on Cheney's deep ties in politics and how that led to the VP slot.

"It's a great testimonial to Governor Bush that he feels secure reaching out to a person of such great stature, and it's a testamonial to Dick Cheney that he's still willing to go back and contribute some more to government," former GOP Rep. Vin Weber said at the time.

But there have also been moments in history when the vice presidential pick meant more in retrospect than it seemed at the time.  Watch as Lyndon Johnson becomes JFK's vice presidential pick at the 1960 Democratic National Convention, taking on new meaning after Kennedy's assassination in 1963.

With the extraordinary news following the 2008 campaign has created, both Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain's picks are sure to drum up interest as the hot summer in Washington winds down. But will their picks move the polls? That remains to be seen.


Bob Anderson said:

Sure, Cheney's thinking before becomming Bush's running mate is interesting, but what about how he changed the office going forward - just look at your own Frontline show on Cheney http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/cheney/. We need to understand how the balance of power will be restored for both offices of the executive in the next administration.

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