Veep History: A Survey of Modern Running Mates
1952 Eisenhower--Nixon: Dwight Eisenhower picked Nixon, then a U.S. Senator from California, for his youth, West Coast appeal and strong anti-communist record. So began Nixon's long and turbulent life on the national stage.
1960 Kennedy--Johnson: John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were at daggers drawn for the Democratic nomination but once the Massachusetts Senator won it, he bowed to the political reality that only Johnson could bring him the Southern states he needed to be elected president.
1964 Johnson--Humphrey: Lyndon Johnson waited until the last possible minute before naming his former Senate colleague from Minnesota as his running mate. Humphrey's past run for president -- in 1960 -- and his status as a liberal champion in the Senate attracted Johnson to the Minnesotan.
1968 Nixon--Agnew: Widely regarded as the worst vice presidential pick in modern history, Agnew had some appeal to Richard Nixon due to his quick ascent in Maryland politics -- he was the governor of the Old Line State when plucked by Nixon. Agnew eventually resigned amid a federal investigation surrounding his finances.
1976 Carter--Mondale: National Democrats were stunned when little known Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter managed to win the presidential nomination. By picking Mondale, a known and respected presence in Washington, Carter quieted those worries. Mondale also helped cement organized labor behind Carter's candidacy.
1980 Reagan--Bush: Ronald Reagan faced real questions about whether he was too conservative to be elected president. In choosing George H.W. Bush, the epitome of country club/establishment Republicanism, Reagan showed that he was no extremist. Reagan turned to Bush after discussions with Gerald Ford about the possibility of a co-presidency didn't pan out. The pick was in many ways pushed on Reagan by his advisers after what they believed to be a very strong primary performance by Bush.
1988 Bush--Quayle: Looking for a bit of youth and charisma, George H.W. Bush bypassed newly minted Sen. John McCain and instead opted for Quayle, who proceeded to be beaten badly by Sen. Lloyd Bentsen in the vice presidential debate ("I knew John Kennedy") and mis-spell the word "potato."
1992 Clinton--Gore: Bill Clinton's choice of the Tennessee senator turned global prophet is widely regarded as an inspired one by historians. Gore solidified the generational change message of the ticket and Gore redefined the vice presidency as a job worth having.
2000 Bush--Cheney: George W. Bush had been governor of Texas for less than six years when he became his party's nominee. Choosing Cheney, who led the vice presidential search for him, was seen as a brilliant strategic gambit: Cheney's gravitas and decided lack of interest in being president himself helped Bush convince voters he was serious not just about politics but also governing.