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Advice On Picking a Vice President

Discussion of the vice presidential nomination, while a topic useful to journalists and commentators who have deadlines to meet, is quite often a waste of time, if discussion is meant to influence the actual decision.

It’s in every presumptive nominee’s interest to keep as many influential people as possible believing they are on the future presidential nominee’s short list.  That leads them to do all they can to benefit the future nominee before he makes his pick.  Understanding that, Gerald Ford held many Delegates he would otherwise have lost to Ronald Reagan in the close contest leading up to the 1976 Republican National Convention.

My favorite example of useless discussion of who will be picked to run for Vice President is Richard Nixon’s choice in 1968.  I was a Reagan for President Alternate Delegate from Louisiana that year, so I hoped somehow we would nominate Gov. Ronald Reagan for President.  But I followed avidly the rampant speculation about who would be Nixon’s V.P. choice if he, as generally expected, won the presidential nomination.  After months of commentary and advice, when he had to pick someone, Nixon picked Spiro Agnew.

I had heard no predictions or even any speculation that Agnew would be chosen.  The stunning, unexpected choice led me to immediately create and affix to my coat lapel a large, neatly lettered, round button reading:  He Was My Choice All Along.  During the rest of that day at the Miami convention, a great many people burst into laughter when they saw and read my button.  The nominee’s choice showed that he had completely disregarded all of the news media’s advice.

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