Jules Witcover, author of "The American Vice Presidency: From Irrelevance to Power"


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Oct 03 2014

Is there any office in American politics with simultaneously more and less power than the Vice Presidency?Indeed, there may be no phrase in American politics that carries more unspoken meanings than “A heartbeat away.” It’s been used to create fear and doubt, as well as confidence and sure-handedness. It’s both an insult and an honor – the burden and opportunity that comes with attaining our nation’s second-highest office.In recent campaigns, the office has taken on incredible – even outsized – importance. From the Veepstakes watches that dominate coverage for months to the nominees themselves -- Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle; Al Gore and Jack Kemp; Sarah Palin and Joe Biden – the vice president’s role today carries unquestioned importance.But this wasn’t always the case. Once upon a time, the vice presidency was a laughing stock, a place to hide people, placate others and at times, just plain disappear. What changed?Jules Witcover is the famed syndicated political columnist at the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post and Star and Los Angeles Times. He is the author of 14 books; co-author of 5 others. His most recent book is “The American Vice Presidency: From Irrelevance to Power”…