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Newsmax's List of the Best Vice Presidents in US History

teddy roosevelt pic is shown on a program
A picture of  President Theodore Roosevelt lays on the ground at a tent encampment in Miami, Florida. Roosevelt was governor of New York when William McKinley chose him as his running mate. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 29 June 2020 10:12 AM

Under the Constitution, the vice president presides over the Senate. In that capacity he casts the tie-breaking vote in that chamber and may preside over the impeachment trials of federal officers (excepting his own and that of the president).

Pursuant to the 12th Amendment, the vice president also presides over electoral vote counts, and the 25th Amendment makes it clear the he succeeds as president in the event the president resigns, dies, is incapacitated, or is removed from office.

The following are Newsmax’s picks for the best vice presidents in history. Let us know how our list stacks up against your own.

No. 10: Joe Biden was one of the few vice presidents to take an active role in his president’s administration. This may have been due to then-President Barack Obama’s relative inexperience in national politics.

For example, Obama appointed Biden to oversee infrastructure spending approved through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and was instrumental in formulating U.S. policy for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iran. He was also in charge of the president’s Gun Violence Task Force.

Although he was largely given free rein in many instances, the policies were often not up to snuff. Obama Defense Secretary Robert Gates remarked that Biden has "been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."

But because he was able to wield the power, he makes the list.

No. 9: John Adams was overshadowed by President George Washington’s impressive stature, and according to his biographers, Washington seldom sought Adams’ counsel.

Adams was quoted as saying, "I am vice president. In this I am nothing, but I may be everything," and in at least one sense he was “everything.” Adams cast 29 tie-breaking votes in the Senate, a record that has never been topped or even matched. In that manner he had a direct effect on policy.

Also, as the nation’s first vice president he set the tone for the office and established the role of the vice presidency.

No. 8: Richard Nixon was Dwight D. Eisenhower’s rock solid choice for a running mate, and despite his later rocky presidency, he proved his mettle throughout his vice presidential tenure.

He turned out to be Eisenhower’s de facto ambassador-at-large. He bravely stood up to angry Marxist mobs in Latin America and successfully debated with Soviet Union Premier Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow in what was later called the “kitchen debate.”

When Khrushchev visited the United States and wanted to debate Nixon again on the relative merits of communism versus capitalism, Nixon took the Soviet premier to a typical American supermarket. It left Khrushchev speechless -- he had never seen such plenty.

No. 7: Gerald Ford was appointed vice president by then-President Richard Nixon after Spiro Agnew left the office in disgrace. Nixon chose then-Rep. Ford from Michigan for his solid reputation as a straight, honest shooter who was admired on both sides of the aisle.

When the Watergate scandal began heating up and tainting the administration, Ford deftly remained above the fray -- so much so that when Nixon resigned in August 1974, the nation was comforted with him at the helm.

No. 6: Mike Pence has proven to be both a loyal ally to President Trump as well as a staunch defender of the administration.

While the president’s rhetoric sometimes gets him into trouble with the press, Pence’s calming voice and influence sooths the ruffled feathers.

Pence’s administrative experience as an Indiana governor as well as his experience on Capitol Hill have also helped guide the administration through the legislative jungle.

Like Obama to Biden, Trump has given Pence administrative powers -- the most recently as chairman of the president’s coronavirus task force.

No. 5: Dick Cheney provided the foreign policy expertise that then-President George W. Bush, who was a former Texas governor, needed at a critical time in history.

Although the butt of many jokes, including from Bush, he directed the anti-terrorism efforts during the aftermath of the attack on September 11, 2001.

He pushed for the approval of enhanced interrogation techniques -- including waterboarding -- that arguably led to the location of Osama bin Laden’s lair years later.

No. 4: Walter Mondale only served a single term as vice president under Jimmy Carter, but like Biden, Cheney and Pence, he exercised more power within the administration. Prior to Carters election he was a Georgia governor and a peanut farmer.

While in the Senate representing Minnesota, Mondale often crossed party lines to get legislation passed. As a sign of his influence in the administration, Mondale was the first veep to be assigned an office within the White House, and was also the first to receive intelligence briefings along with his president.

No. 3: Henry Wilson, served under President Ulysses S. Grant. Years earlier Wilson founded the short-lived Free Soil Party for the express purpose of preventing the expansion of slavery into the western territories. The Free Soilers eventually merged into what became the Republican Party.

Wilson also strongly supported workers’ rights, and while a senator representing Massachusetts, he frequently traveled the state to stay in touch with his constituents and hear their concerns.

No. 2.: George Clinton was a founding father and served as vice president under two different administrations: That of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

He also helped draft the Bill of Rights -- the first 10 amendments to the Constitution -- as a means of preventing the formation of an overly aggressive and powerful federal government.

No. 1: Theodore Roosevelt, was governor of New York when William McKinley chose him as his running mate -- ostensibly to get the forward-thinking Roosevelt out of New York state politics and into a “do nothing” job.

"I would a great deal rather be anything, say professor of history, than vice president," he said before holding that very position.

He nonetheless worked tirelessly on the campaign, making nearly 500 stops in 23 states in order to secure the White House for the Republican Party.

His tenure as vice president only lasted six months, however. When Roosevelt succeeded to the presidency upon McKinley's assassination in 1901, he became the first modern president by taking an activist role in the office.

He established a national park system, fought monopolies and corporate trusts, and was a champion to labor while recognizing the concerns and needs of management.

Roosevelt said, "My action on labor should always be considered in connection with my action as regards capital, and both are reducible to my favorite formula—a square deal for every man."

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Pursuant to the 12th Amendment, the vice president also presides over electoral vote counts, and the 25th Amendment makes it clear the he succeeds as president in the event the president resigns, dies, is incapacitated, or is removed from office.
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2020-12-29
Monday, 29 June 2020 10:12 AM
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