Once there were two brothers. One ran away to sea,
the other became Vice President of the United States,
and nothing was heard of either of them again.
Attributed to Woodrow Wilson's Vice President
What the Vice President will do or is permitted to do
. . . is determined by what the President assigns to
him or permits him to do. . . . The President can
bestow assignments and authority and can remove that
authority at will.
Hubert Humphrey, Current History, 67 ( 1974), p. 58
The job [of vice president] doesn't lend itself to high
profile and decision making. It lends itself to loyally
supporting the president . . ., giving him your best
judgment, and then when the president reaches a
decision, supporting it.
George Bush, quoted in Michael Duffy and Dan Goodgame , Marching in Place ( Simon & Schuster, 1992), p. 40
During our first 150 years, vice presidents served primarily as ceremonial ribbon-cutters. They also served as president and presiding officer in the U.S. Senate. The post was often seen as a semiretirement job for party stalwarts, as a resting place for mediocrities or a "runner-up." Its occupants typically found themselves in a frustrating spectator role. In most