Eight more years! (political question)

A friend of mine and I were talking about the upcoming presidential campaign, and the difficulty of choosing a VP candidate. I said jokingly, “You know who Gore should pick as his running mate? Clinton.” We laughed for a bit and then realized that Clinton would actually make a GREAT choice for Gore’s running mate - lots of people love him and would vote for him again if they could…plus, let’s face it, Clinton’s MADE for the job of veep. It’s all face time and schmoozing.

So here’s my question: is there anything in the rules that would prevent Gore from picking Clinton as his VP candidate?

You mean besides the screams of anguish and mass suicide that would result?

Actually, I’ve heard this conjectured before, and I believe the concensus was that no, there would be no reason that Clinton could not be the VP.


I think the Constitution wouldn’t prevent him from being Veep, but it would be moot because once Gore left the planet Clinton would be forbidden from being president. Theoretically Gore could hire a Uruguayan teenager for Veep, and so long as Gore stayed alive it wouldn’t matter. Not sure, though. I don’t have my copy of the Constitution handy…

The Constitution says you can’t be elected President
more than twice. If there was a Gore/Clinton ticket,
and Gore died five minutes after being sworn in,
Bill would be President.

:slight_smile: There is a God!

I’m fairly certain that this also bars him from being Veep also.

I’m sure the intent clearly would disqualify Clinton, but the wording of the 22nd amendment does leave it open:

“No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.”

Note the word “elected.” If Clinton became president through the death of President Gore, he’s not elected and it could be argued that the amendment doesn’t apply.

There are no actual qualifications for Vice President in the Constitution. The assumption is that he should have the same qualifications as a president, but if a VP was, say, foreign-born, that would only mean he couldn’t succeed the president, since he’s ineligible to be president. Nothing disqualifies him from presiding over the Senate, though.

Not that there’s any chance of that happening.

I know you can’t be elected president more than twice, but IIRC if a veep succeeds to the Presidency (through assassination, for example), those extra years don’t prevent him from running and being elected for a full two terms thereafter. Why should it be different on the other end? That is to say, even though you can’t be ELECTED to more than two terms, taking over the presidency via other means such as assassination or resignation is a different animal. I was wondering if the regs cover this specific situation and would in fact love to see the relevant passage if it is.

In 1988 there was some wild speculation that George Bush might chose Ronald Reagan as his running mate. The talking heads dismissed this since (they said) the Vice President has to have the same qualifications as the President. I didn’t quite buy it, since I couldn’t find it anywhere in the constitution.

There are or have been other iffy questions on presidential qualifications. What exactly does “natural-born Citizen” mean? Is a person qualified who was born a U.S. citizen of U.S. parents, but born overseas? Probably, but I don’t think it has ever been decided for sure.

In 1928 there was some question as to the exact meaning of “fourteen years a Resident within the United States.” Hoover had resided in the U.S. more than fourteen years of his life, but not all of the 14 years immediately preceding the election (he was in Europe part of that time). The precedent in this case was set not by legislation or by the courts, but by the election.

Ick. It was my understanding that one could not serve more than 10 years in the office of president. (two terms plus 2 years.) If Gore bought it 5 minutes into his tenure, Clinton would have to call elections in 2 years.

This topic has been exhaustively addressed in this discussion:

which was a response to this mailbag question:

The topic at hand was “can Clinton serve a third term as president?”, with the scenario of Clinton running as VP, then assuming office later, just one of many possibilities.


IIRC, Clinton (or Reagan, for that matter) could serve as Veep, but in the event of an ascendancy due to the vacating of the presidency by Gore, the VP would be skipped and the Speaker of the House would assume the position.

Now, I don’t know if the Speaker of the House would replace the VP or not, but it sure would be interesting to have, say, President Gephardt and Vice President Reagan.

I don’t believe Gore can hire a Uruguayan teenage as his Veep. According to the 12th Amendment, the President and Vice-Presidential offices have the same qualifications.

When Barry Goldwater ran for president in 1964, William Buckley advocated picking Eisenhower as the vice-presidential candidate. I don’t think Eisenhower’s health was that great at the time, which rendered the entire debate academic.

I don’t think anyone would know what would happen unless someone tries such a maneuver and I doubt any presidential candidate is ever going to attempt such a hare-brained scheme.

You might also want to check out this thread: Can Clinton be President Again?, where two of our favourite legal counsel, DSYoungEsq and Bricker battled out the constitutional possibilities, pro and con, and came to a draw.

I’m not a legal eagle but I would think he could be elected Vice President but would be passed over if something happened to Gore because he doesn’t qualify. Much the same way that Madeline Albright would be passed over in succession because she was born in another country.

The Vice President’s job is to be President of the Senate and to assume the Presidency if needed. Using Slippery Slope logic if Clinton were barred then that would mean that every person in the succession line would also have to meet the Constitutional requirements and we know that isn’t true.

So Bill would be stuck going to funerals and casting tie breaking votes in the Senate.

Sorry, folks, but if the President dies, the VP gets the office. That’s pretty clear.

But, doesn’t the office of VP, unlike everyone else in the cabinet, explicitly require that you be eligible for the presidency in order to occupy it?


I honestly don’t know and am too tired to look for it. If the Constitution says so, then I stand corrected. I know this has been covered many times over so I’m just throwing out ideas… Gore picked Lieberman so I guess it is a moot point. But it is interesting as Clinton is the first 2 term President to finish his run in office in relatively good enough shape to warrant the thought. Reagan already was slowing down and Eisenhower had heart problems. I can’t remember any 2 termers before that other than Roosevelt who was a 4 termer.

No, which is why Madeline Albright, who was born in what is now the Czech Republic, is able to serve as Secretary of State, while being ineligible to serve as President (succession would skip her, for those who care).

How would rules that apply only to the VP affect the SoS?

The relevant clause in the Constitution is in the 12th Amendment.

“But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice President of the United States.”

That’s what it says and I’m backing out of this question which has been debated endlessly in this forum.