A Short History of the Vice Presidency

With election season looming, how important is the running mate? Check out our VP power scale!

AL GORE (D), 1993 - 2001

BOSS: Bill Clinton

POWER INDEX: Not enough to grab the big job

ACHIEVEMENTS: Invented the Internet, inspired Love Story, discovered the Love Canal toxic-waste dump in New York — but didn't have the stones to correct the press when it misquoted him on all of this.

VP WISDOM: "Defeat might serve as well as victory...."


BOSS: George W. Bush

POWER INDEX: Silence, puny human!

ACHIEVEMENTS: Allegedly authorized the leak of a covert CIA agent's name, made millions when his former company won no-bid contracts in Baghdad, shot a friend in the face with a shotgun, deleted e-mails, for starters. 

DAN QUAYLE (R), 1989 - 1993

BOSS: George H. W. Bush

POWER INDEX: Somewhere between meter maid and lawn boy

ACHIEVEMENTS: Four years of busywork. Bush once told him, "Our relations with the Pacific countries are very important to the United States. But we're going to let you go anyway."

VP WISDOM: "P-o-t-a-t-o-e." 


BOSS: William Henry Harrison

POWER INDEX: A 19th-century James Bond villain

ACHIEVEMENTS: Successfully argued that he should become president after his boss died — not just "acting president" as many interpreted the Constitution.

VP WISDOM: "I can never consent to being dictated to as to what I shall do or not do."