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Canada What exactly does a U.S. vice-president do? It would have shocked the country's founders

13:42  14 august  2020
13:42  14 august  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

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So what exactly is the role of the vice president ? We’ll also highlight powerful countries , ideologies, influential leaders, and ongoing global conflicts that are shaping the current landscape of the international community across the globe today.

Also, the VP does have some potential power arising from the potential death/incapacitation of the President, but you've have to be Frank If you want the opinion of people who've actually had the job, there are some pretty telling quotes about the Vice Presidency here: Quotes: U . S . vice presidency .

a man wearing a suit and tie walking down the street: Joe Biden, left, is shown at the White House in 2015 with Barack Obama, who selected Biden, a longtime senator, as his running mate when he ran for president in 2008. © Jonathan Ernst/Reuters Joe Biden, left, is shown at the White House in 2015 with Barack Obama, who selected Biden, a longtime senator, as his running mate when he ran for president in 2008.

They'd have been bewildered, back in Daniel Webster's day, by this week's blanket news coverage and tea-leaf-reading dedicated to the choice of a U.S. vice-presidential candidate.

The vice-presidency was maligned and ridiculed in that bygone era when statesmen sported mutton-chop sideburns and sat stone-faced in black-and-white photo portraits.

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­The vice president ' s presiding powers over the Senate are largely hamstrung by the strict rules order the Senate adopted centuries ago. The vice president ' s main power is the ability to cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate. This isn't as powerful as it sounds.

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Webster was offered the position and turned it down.

"I do not propose to be buried until I am dead," he replied, said Joel Goldstein, a scholar on the vice-presidency based in St. Louis, Mo.

Like many of his generation, the 19th-century statesman viewed the vice-presidency as so pointless, so soul-crushingly devoid of purpose, that he said thanks, but no thanks.

That was a common view throughout U.S. history.

Holders of the post mocked it with self-deprecating one-liners long before the TV show Veep practically turned disparagement of the office into its own comedic genre.

But the position has changed and grown over time, illustrating a broader evolution in U.S. politics in which the presidency has gained, and Congress has lost, political power.

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There is no requirement that an appointed Vice President be an elected official. The must however, be approved by both the house and senate. "Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President , the President shall

President Trump on Thursday in the Oval Office. “If I need to do something, I’ll do it ,” he told The president told aides gathered in the room, who disagreed on exactly how far he should go in terms of a They are the largest in the country so far to abandon plans for even a partial physical return to

Joe Biden told a story this week that underscored that change.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, and Sen. Kamala Harris, whom he picked as his vice-presidential candidate, appear at their first campaign event together, in Delaware on Wednesday. © Carlos Barria/Reuters Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, and Sen. Kamala Harris, whom he picked as his vice-presidential candidate, appear at their first campaign event together, in Delaware on Wednesday.

As he introduced his running mate, Kamala Harris, the presumptive Democratic nominee described what happened when Barack Obama offered him the same job in 2008.

"[Obama] asked me what I wanted most importantly. I told him I wanted to be the last person in the room before he made important decisions," Biden said.

"That's what I asked Kamala. I asked Kamala to be the last voice in the room. To always tell me the truth."

In other words, the VP is now a top adviser to the president. And a troubleshooter — the lead on a few serious files, like a pandemic; a trusted envoy who flies on Air Force Two to carry the president's message to foreign capitals or rides a limousine motorcade up to Capitol Hill to represent the boss in a legislative negotiation.

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 Joe Biden puts his running mate Kamala Harris in orbit that curls Donald Trump © REUTERS / Carlos Barria Senator Kamala Harris made her first big virtual meeting as a Democratic running mate on August 12 in Wilmington. First joint appearance of the Democratic candidate and his running mate this Wednesday, August 12 in Wilmington, the city where Joe Biden lives in Delaware. The former vice president praised the skills of the California senator who will appear with him on the Democratic ticket. Kamala Harris, she was offensive to the US president.

“I do solemnly swear [or affirm] that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” How Does the Presidential Election Work? When Americans vote for President and Vice President

What did the Reagan aides do with the money from the arms sale? In violation of U . S . law, they What term did the U . S . Census Bureau use to classify Mexican Americans, Dominican Americans, and Cuban -The Senate vote ended in a tie, and Vice President Gore broke it by voting against removal.

Nearly one-third become president

Nearly one-third of the office's holders have gone on to become president through election or succession.

That's especially relevant this year given how historically old the election contenders are.

The chance of an average American male of Biden's age who might need to be, erm, replaced over the next four years stands at nearly one-in-five, according to actuarial science.

That's what happened in Webster's day.

a vintage photo of Millard Fillmore wearing a suit and tie: Daniel Webster declined the VP job in 1840 and 1848. After the second refusal, Millard Fillmore, seen here, said yes. And he became president when Zachary Taylor died. © Getty Images Daniel Webster declined the VP job in 1840 and 1848. After the second refusal, Millard Fillmore, seen here, said yes. And he became president when Zachary Taylor died.

The next president died a couple of years later, and the man who accepted the running-mate role in his stead, Millard Fillmore, wound up in the White House in 1850.

But the VP job occasionally went unfilled for years, until the 25th Amendment was ratified and became part of the U.S. Constitution in 1967, allowing a president to fill a vacancy.

From the founding to today

The country's founders had spent little time thinking about the office and originally gave the position to whomever finished second in the Electoral College vote.

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The surge did not materialize, but the number of virus patients has doubled since May, with more people showing up in the emergency rooms and testing positive. In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador kicked off the reopening in early June with a tour of the country .

Doing so will save the lives of at least 40,000 people, he said in brief remarks in Delaware that followed a lengthy briefing on the coronavirus crisis. Their statements took fewer than eight minutes, and the two did not answer any of the questions reporters shouted at them as they concluded.

"It was really an afterthought," Goldstein said in an interview.

"We don't know exactly why [the founders] created it."

The original system devolved into an awkward deadlock between political rivals and was changed a few years later.

In its next incarnation, the job was viewed as a patronage post and often went to people with no federal experience — like a customs official, businessmen and state lawmakers.

It took numerous decades for presidents to start picking their own running mates, with party bosses controlling the process until then.

Dwight Eisenhower was caught off-guard when asked whom he wanted named as his running mate at the 1952 Republican convention.

"'I thought the convention had to do that,' [Eisenhower] replied, apparently unaware he had any say in the matter," veteran political writer Jules Witcover recounts in his book, The American Vice Presidency.

"After briefly mentioning some other names, they agreed on [Richard] Nixon."

The role grew under Nixon. He began attending cabinet meetings and visited dozens of countries on Eisenhower's behalf. He was himself elected president after two tries.

a man sitting on a table: John F. Kennedy, right, with Lyndon Johnson in the Oval Office in 1963, never expected Johnson to accept the VP offer. © Getty Images John F. Kennedy, right, with Lyndon Johnson in the Oval Office in 1963, never expected Johnson to accept the VP offer.

The man who beat Nixon in his initial presidential run — John F. Kennedy — was among the first to pick his own vice-president.

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But he was shocked when Lyndon B. Johnson accepted.

Kennedy was desperate to win Texas and, at the 1960 convention, made a conciliatory offer to its native son. Kennedy friend and biographer Arthur Schlesinger Jr. said the president came back from LBJ's hotel room with startling news.

"You just won't believe it.... He wants it.... Now what do we do?" JFK told his brother, in an account originally included in Schlesinger's Robert Kennedy biography and repeated in Witcover's book.

The role grew over the 20th century as presidents themselves took on more power — for instance, signing far more executive orders.

The big turning point

The final major turning point came after 1972.

At a sad and awkward news conference, Democratic nominee George McGovern announced that he was withdrawing his VP pick, who was standing right next to him.

This was after days of controversy following news that Sen. Thomas Eagleton had received electroshock therapy as treatment for depression.

Thomas Eagleton, George McGovern are posing for a picture: Democratic nominee George McGovern, right, with running mate Thomas Eagleton in 1972. McGovern withdrew the offer after it was revealed that Eagleton had received electroshock therapy as treatment for depression. © Anthony Korody/Getty Images Democratic nominee George McGovern, right, with running mate Thomas Eagleton in 1972. McGovern withdrew the offer after it was revealed that Eagleton had received electroshock therapy as treatment for depression.

Pressed by reporters, McGovern, who had originally hoped to recruit Edward Kennedy, said it had been a chaotic party convention and he hadn't properly vetted his choice.

"We didn't have the time and the deliberation that were needed. I was still writing my acceptance speech within two or three hours of the time I had to deliver it," McGovern replied.

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The next Democratic nominee vowed not to repeat the mistake.

Scholars of the vice-presidency credit Jimmy Carter and his running mate, more than anyone, with modernizing the role.

Carter took the selection process seriously, choosing Walter Mondale from an original list of hundreds of names after interviewing the candidates.

Walter Mondale et al. posing for the camera: Walter Mondale was the last Democrat to name a woman as his running mate. He lost the 1984 election, but by then he'd already reinvented the vice-presidency when he served under Jimmy Carter. © Evening Standard/Getty Images Walter Mondale was the last Democrat to name a woman as his running mate. He lost the 1984 election, but by then he'd already reinvented the vice-presidency when he served under Jimmy Carter.

The Georgia governor wanted a VP with Washington experience to compensate for his own lack of it, and he landed on the senior senator.

Goldstein said Carter also viewed reform as a moral issue. He considered it was wrong to leave a potential presidential replacement out of the loop and unprepared for the big job.

Nuclear bomb? What nuclear bomb?

The development of the nuclear bomb offers a classic, if chilling, example.

Harry Truman was kept in the dark about the Manhattan Project to build the bomb — he only found out about it after Franklin Roosevelt died.

Harry S. Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt are posing for a picture: Harry Truman, left, wasn't even told about the project to build a nuclear bomb when he was VP. He only found out about it after he became president upon the 1945 death of Franklin Roosevelt, right. © Getty Images Harry Truman, left, wasn't even told about the project to build a nuclear bomb when he was VP. He only found out about it after he became president upon the 1945 death of Franklin Roosevelt, right.

Carter let Mondale write a new job description for vice-president.

And that job description resembles the role we know today: VP as top adviser, present in key meetings, with access to intelligence briefings, playing a lead role on specific files and guaranteed regular lunches with the president.

Carter not only agreed to those conditions; he even offered his running mate an office in the White House.

The 1976 election was also the first featuring a televised vice-presidential debate.

Early in the Carter presidency, Mondale was sent on a world tour to meet with NATO and other allies, and a New York Times piece called the reinvention of the role a legacy of Carter's first 100 days in office.

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"Because the perception was that [because] the vice-president mattered to the president, he mattered to other people," Goldstein said.

"The vice-president became part of the president's inner circle."

The current role

That pattern persisted. Under Bill Clinton, Al Gore took a lead on environmental, telecommunications and Russia issues.

Dick Cheney had tremendous power from the start, leading the presidential transition and selecting key cabinet members for George W. Bush. He oversaw numerous policy areas. Most notoriously, he advocated for the Iraq War.

Biden was involved in the 2009 recovery bill, pandemic preparation and budget negotiations with congressional Republicans.

In an interview for Witcover's book, Biden said the president alone can't handle the increasing scope of issues that now cross the Oval Office desk.

"The president's plate is so very full," he said.

WATCH | Biden and Harris make first appearance as running mates:

As Biden conducted his search for a running mate, there were days, weeks and months of frenzied media speculation.

Reporters produced countless profiles of the potential running mates, unearthing unflattering material about the candidates, publishing gripes from rivals, even tracking flights to Biden's state of Delaware for clues. This week he offered the job to Harris, a California senator and ex-prosecutor.

And unlike Daniel Webster, she said yes.


Video: Biden and Harris take on Trump in first appearance as running mates (cbc.ca)

Biden and Harris take on Trump in first appearance as running mates
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