August 14th, 2008
12:07 PM ET

Ranking the best and worst VP picks

Dick Cheney makes both lists -- he's ranked as one of the best and worst VP picks in recent years.

Dick Cheney makes both lists - he's ranked as one of the best and worst VP picks in recent years.

Joe Johns
AC360° Correspondent

When it comes to vice presidential picks, there have been some good ones and some not so good ones.

CNN asked conservative historian Lee Edwards to rank the VP choices since the 1950s. On his list of good VP picks, Edwards puts Dick Cheney at No. 5.

The current vice president makes the list because he brought lots of Washington experience with him - something President Bush lacked at the time.

Coming in at No. 4 is Richard Nixon. He was Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower's running mate. Nixon brought with him youth - and California. The former senator also had other assets that became huge liabilities when he later ended up in the White House.

"Richard Nixon was known as the man who would cut and slash the opposition, and so that kind of dirty politics work would be done by Nixon," Edwards said.

Next on the list - Al Gore. Bill Clinton's right-hand man comes in at No. 3 because, as the senator from Tennessee, he brought Washington experience to a ticket featuring a little-known governor from Arkansas.


Filed under: Joe Johns • Raw Politics • T1
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. DianneB TN

    Joe Biden would be a great VP. He would help with the Foriegn Policies. Plus he has great experience in the economy problems. The only thing I see he may a little older than Obama would like.

    August 15, 2008 at 4:50 am |
  2. Kent Fitzsimmons,Kewanee, IL

    Cheney is the biggest crook that ever took office as VP. You hate Bush but you never wanted anything to happen to him because Cheney was worse....................

    August 14, 2008 at 10:56 pm |
  3. KJ Western, MA

    I agree the VP choice usually does not matter to much, however, in this election I think it will mean a great deal. I might be wrong, but time will tell.

    August 14, 2008 at 9:23 pm |
  4. Annie Kate

    I agree with Cheney being on the worst list but not the best list – not by a long shot. I never thought I would see LBJ on a best list either – he was so unpopular at the end of his presidency that the unpopularity (because of Vietnam) is all you remember. Perhaps his image will improve with time as he did step up to the task after JFK was killed and did it with grace and dignity. And Dan Quayle was always good for a laugh – even though sometimes you cringed at the same time. Overall, I think Al Gore should be number 1 – he is the sort of VP that I wish they would all pick.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 14, 2008 at 9:08 pm |
  5. Michel (from Michigan)

    Bush was considered a wimp by many so he could not choose a VP that would look better than him. Dan Qayle was an obvious choice for many republicans. It turned out to be a goof but not big enough to hurt him at the end. People usually don't vote for the VP.

    August 14, 2008 at 9:03 pm |
  6. Michel (from Michigan)

    The worst being Dick Cheney the war monger and the best being Al Gore.

    August 14, 2008 at 8:31 pm |
  7. dl

    Joebama! Now there's a good duo.

    August 14, 2008 at 8:28 pm |
  8. Dani, Seattle

    I agree with you Timothy Beauchamp, the mob abides by more laws than Cheney. Too bad he won't pay for it in the public arena, but I do believe what goes around comes around, and it's coming around already.

    August 14, 2008 at 7:04 pm |
  9. KJ

    Heather it is because he can spell so well..........LOL I am one to talk, as I am the worst speller on the planet.

    August 14, 2008 at 6:47 pm |
  10. Pat

    Could you not have found another pictuure of a VP besides Cheney? U..UGGGGHHH

    Kerry will sink Obama's ship definitely. I pray he does not go with Kerry or Richardson as neither have any credibility. CarolingeKennedy would be a better choice than either of them. (No I'm not suggesting Caroline Kennedy!) But if Americans could get over Bill I still think Hillary would be his best bet. The two of them together would certainly promote unity at all levels. But I do understand it would be difficult for Obama to have Bill so close to decision making and difficult for Bill as well.

    August 14, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  11. Heather

    Could somebody please explain to me who and why they thought Dan Quayle would ever make a good vp?

    August 14, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  12. Timothy Beauchamp

    Best: Thomas Riley Marshall?

    Worst: easty answer – Dick Cheney

    Cheney has done more damage to the constitution and United States than any man to hold the office.

    August 14, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  13. KJ

    Mark, I respect what you are saying. However, as someone who voted for Hillary Clinton, I see Gov. Richardson as a problem. As he was close to the Clinton's but "jumped the fence" (sorry, could not think of a better term) to Obama. In the way he did it, as I respect his ability to have a choice, I did not care for it. Therefore, I think Obama might have a large problem with several of the 18 million who voted for Clinton. Or maybe not? Only time will tell. I know that would definatly change my vote.

    August 14, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  14. Jim in Orlando

    A joke of a list. Lee Edwards uses the criteria that two of his "bad" VP picks were the brunt of media jokes and scorn. As the media is always in open season on Republican candidates, is this a true measure of value (or lack of it) in a VP pick ? To pick only one losing VP for the bad list is absurd, as the first measure of a good VP pick is to help deliver a victory. Cheney delivered twice. Avoiding he scorn of the media ain't on the list ....

    August 14, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  15. Jim Singh, La Mesa

    There are good one's and bad one's but also some that are borderline criminal.

    August 14, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  16. Mark

    I think I am making my blogs too large for this sight...in a nut shell...while this should not be an election based on race...try telling that to the minority groups who live with racism every day. Obama must pick a running mate who will not only satisfy his existing African American base but also satisfy the historically deomcratic Hispanic group who was so much behind Hillary Clinton. To top it off he has to pick someone who will provide experience and is well liked amongst the white voters. My guess is New Mexico Govenor Bill Richardson...he was a very early endorser, he has very strong Hispanic backing, he appeals to the white voters and it keeps his ticket inthe ethnic minority to satisfy the African American voters who may be on the fence.

    August 14, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  17. KJ

    I dont know about John Kerry as a VP pick........ something just does not feel right there. I admit, I can not put a finger on why? They just do not seem to have chemistry. Obama feels the room when he enters, Kerry I think would become nonexistant and therefore not add a whole lot. Just a thought.......not meant to be disrespectful of Kerry, just a feeling.

    August 14, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  18. Larry

    Should be interesting to watch HRC's name entered as a nominee at the DNC. Its unfortunate, for HRC, that the DNP, bent on pressure from Dukakis & Jackson in 1988 to go from 'winner-take-all delegates' to a proportional distribution. Jackson said that's the only way he would endorse Dukakis, who lost of course to Bush 41.

    BO should probably return the favor and take JJ as his vp.

    August 14, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  19. Mark

    Obama will have to pick someone who will solidify the Hispanic community. They are the key to him winning the White House. They are historically democratic voters, however, they were very supportive of Hillary Clinton and if he snubs her, which he will, he is going to have to have someone who can still pull that vote for him. While everyone wants to think that America is past the race card and this election will not be determined by race, it most definitly will. There will be a clear dividing point between white, black and hispanic voters. Neither candidate is doing anything right now to get the hispanic vote and the Hispanic community is going to feel left out now that Hillary is not running regardless of her endorsing Obama or not. My guess is Governor of New Mexico for VP on Obama ticket...or he has to keep it in the ethnic minority and he cant be beaten, pick a Caucasian VP and he further alienates the hispanic vote and might even make a small percentage of African American voters angry. As much as we want to hope this election is not based on race, the swing votes will be cast by those who are very much embroiled in a racist society everyday of their lives. Either way, the best man may not win, because the best man is different to half of the American public....Lets hope someday we can have individuals that are prominant in society not looked at for thier color....but in this race, it is a major player.

    August 14, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  20. no Geriatrics please

    what about Leiberman? that turncoat never gave Kerry any help whatsoever. And Edwards, well his true colors came through now, but not before he lost his home state. Barack, please choose wisely, you are the only person who can remotely slow the end of an empire.

    and Senator McCain, im glad you are so proud of living as a p.o.w. and surviving. Well maybe you shouldve been sharp enough to not get caught. Go back to the Social Security office to scoop your check grandpa and let the leadership go to those not on Aricept!

    August 14, 2008 at 1:43 pm |
  21. Mike Slayton

    How about--

    Worst VP choices: Aaron Burr, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur, ???

    Best VP choices: Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge????

    August 14, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  22. charles-alabama

    I was hoping that Obama would pick Hillary,however after her and Bill's childlike behavior..I dont think so.Biden would at this point be a slamdunk..As for Mccain..unless he can get Powell , he's done..and its obvious that Powell has distanced himself from that pack of liars a while back..OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    August 14, 2008 at 1:16 pm |
  23. rg

    How about John Kerry as Obamas VP?

    August 14, 2008 at 12:36 pm |
  24. Cindy

    Whoa...what a list! The good picks seem as bad to me as the bad ones!! LOL They all went on to do ridiculous stuff..OK except for Gore, unless you don't believe his whole global warming shtick, but the rest did. I just hope that the ones that are chosen this go round don't end up corrupt like the rest!


    August 14, 2008 at 12:33 pm |
  25. Larry

    Would be interesting to see what became of the VPs of the non-winners.

    August 14, 2008 at 12:19 pm |