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  #1  
Old 03-30-2008, 10:11 AM
Ignatz Ignatz is offline
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Can a sitting U.S. vice president run against his/her sitting president?

Given the current buzz about pre-declaring a "dream team" pairing the two currently leading Democratic candidates no matter which one wins the lead place on the ticket, say the "dream team" is declared and they win the presidency and vice presidency. That would be either Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton.

Then (perhaps the next day) the next election/re-election battle ensues and, predictably, the v.p. still wants to be the POTUS so wants to run against his/her president.

Can s/he legally do it and if so, would it be feasible or utter chaos, or both?
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  #2  
Old 03-30-2008, 10:13 AM
Two and a Half Inches of Fun Two and a Half Inches of Fun is offline
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He/she can legally do it.
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  #3  
Old 03-30-2008, 10:19 AM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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Yep. Nothing but party influence could prevent it. Though the VP had better know going in that he/she is about to be sentenced to attend a four-year funeral or something in nowhereistan.
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:35 AM
Giles Giles is offline
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If the President and Vice-President were in the same party (which is pretty inevitable these days), then the primary system would probably require one of them to leave the party. (That might be the President, if their first term had made them so unpopular that they looked like losing the primaries).
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Old 03-30-2008, 12:05 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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In the election of 1800, precisely this happened. Incumbent President John Adams was defeated for the Presidency by challenger-for-the-Presidency and incumbent Vice President Thomas Jefferson.

In 1960, JFK won the nomination by a bargain with his closest challenger, LBJ, that the latter would be his V.P. There was little love lost between them, but they both preferred the other to a dark horse candidate or to a Republican (Nixon, as it turns out) winning. One wonders what might have happened in 1964 if Kennedy had not been assassinated.

More directly apposite to the OP, though not a strict run-against in the general election, but from the era of political parties and very close to the hypothetical asked about, is the 1940 Democratic nomination. FDR was finishing out his second term, World War II was getting hot and the country was divided between isolationists and interventionists, and FDR was urged to run for a third term (to be sure, he took very little convincing). But the Vice President was John Nance "Cactus Jack" Garner, who had broken with the President over events in his second term -- notably the Court Packing attempt -- and he was an active candidate for the Presidential nomination (as he had been in 1932, leading to his nomination as V.P. -- Kennedy and Johnson copied Roosevelt and Garner in that regard.)
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Old 03-30-2008, 01:37 PM
Musicat Musicat is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giles
If the President and Vice-President were in the same party (which is pretty inevitable these days)...
In fact, it's required. You vote for a package deal (or for the electors for the package deal).

When the US first began, the 1st vote getter was the Pres, the 2nd vote getter became the VP. This resulted in a pres of one party and a VP of another. Probably not a good idea, and it was changed.
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Old 03-30-2008, 01:43 PM
Moriarty Moriarty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat
In fact, it's required. You vote for a package deal (or for the electors for the package deal).

When the US first began, the 1st vote getter was the Pres, the 2nd vote getter became the VP. This resulted in a pres of one party and a VP of another. Probably not a good idea, and it was changed.
My first instinct was similar to yours - that it's required that the Pres/VP be from the same party.
But that is not true. While the Pres/VP run on the same ticket, there is no requirement that the ticket be from one party. For all of the rumors about the idea of a John Kerry/John McCain ticket in 2004, nobody has ever dismissed it as being against the law.
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  #8  
Old 03-30-2008, 01:52 PM
BobLibDem BobLibDem is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicktom
My first instinct was similar to yours - that it's required that the Pres/VP be from the same party.
But that is not true. While the Pres/VP run on the same ticket, there is no requirement that the ticket be from one party. For all of the rumors about the idea of a John Kerry/John McCain ticket in 2004, nobody has ever dismissed it as being against the law.
Of course not- parties have no Constitutional status. Indeed, Lincoln picked Democrat Andrew Johnson to be his VP.

There is no reason whatsoever that a vice president cannot challenge a president for his party's nomination. Dick Cheney could have run against Bush in 2004 and if he had won the nomination, goodbye Bush. The vice president does not report to the president and the president cannot fire him. If the president and vice president truly cannot get along, the veep can bide his time presiding over the Senate and making daily inquiries as to the president's health.
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  #9  
Old 03-30-2008, 02:15 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polycarp

In 1960, JFK won the nomination by a bargain with his closest challenger, LBJ, that the latter would be his V.P. There was little love lost between them, but they both preferred the other to a dark horse candidate or to a Republican (Nixon, as it turns out) winning. One wonders what might have happened in 1964 if Kennedy had not been assassinated.
Wasn't the case of Kerry/Edwards similiar to that?
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  #10  
Old 03-30-2008, 05:04 PM
flurb flurb is offline
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Legally, there is no bar to the Vice President seeking his party's nomination (or even another party's nomination) to run against his incumbent president. I think the closest we might have come to this scenario since the 11th Amendment isn't 1964, but 1968. If Johnson had insisted in staying in the nomination race despite going into free fall in the primaries, the Democratic establishment might have felt like they needed to force him out of the race by getting Humphrey to declare. Both RFK and McCarthy were viewed dimly by the traditional party machines, who viewed their insurgent campaigns as a threat to their power. If it looked like LBJ had no chance, getting Humphrey into the race would have at least given them someone to hang their hat on and showed Johnson that he had officially been abandoned by everyone.
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  #11  
Old 03-30-2008, 05:53 PM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
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It's prevented only by party discipline and political reailty. The usual problem for a sitting VP hoping to succeed a term-limited President is to show he's his own man after all, and that does require some amount of "running against the President".

Each state uses the same slates of electors for both offices, but the electors are chosen by their parties and are only pledged, not legally bound, to vote for that party's nominees. In theory anyway, the Electoral College can pick anyone they want for either office, although in practice "faithless electors" are almost unheard of.
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  #12  
Old 03-30-2008, 07:02 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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There's also the precedent of Vice-President George Clinton. He was Vice-President under Tom Jefferson, 1805-1809. In the election of 1808, he ran for Vice-President, and also for President. He got 6 Electoral Votes for President from the Electors from his home state of New York, coming in third behind James Madison (who won the election with 122 Electoral Votes) and Charles Pickney (who came in second with 47 Electoral Votes).

However, Clinton had better success in his race for Vice-president, coming in first with 133 votes. (Interestingly, three of the Electors who cast their ballot for him as President appear to have voted for Madison as Vice-President; the other three voted for Monroe for Veep.) So Clinton went on to serve as Vice-President under Madison, as well as under Jefferson.

Wiki article on Vice-President George Clinton

Table of Electoral Votes: 1808 Election
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  #13  
Old 03-30-2008, 11:01 PM
Freddy the Pig Freddy the Pig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polycarp
But the Vice President was John Nance "Cactus Jack" Garner, who had broken with the President over events in his second term -- notably the Court Packing attempt -- and he was an active candidate for the Presidential nomination.
Indeed, both candidates were placed in nomination for the presidential balloting at the 1940 convention. Garner refused to withdraw even after Roosevelt announced that we would accept nomination to a third term. Roosevelt had the delegates, though, defeating Garner 946.43 to 61 on the first ballot.
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