Diving into the depths of VP trivia
Say it is so, Joe:
“We’ve got to find the resources for it because it pays multiple dividends for the economy, the people of South Carolina and the country.”
Vice President Joe Biden spoke those encouraging words Monday about funding to deepen Charleston Harbor.
OK, so after delivering his pep talk at the Columbus Street Terminal he spoke similarly encouraging words at Savannah’s port later Monday about the Obama administration’s commitment to deepening its harbor. And last week Biden went to Baltimore to hail federal funding of port widening there.
Hey, a 1928 Republican ad line promised “a chicken in every pot and a car in every backyard, to boot.” The GOP, with Herbert Hoover at the top of the ticket, did well at the ballot box that year.
So pledging a major improvement project for every port sounds like good politics.
In our port, however, it also would be a good investment for the nation.
Charleston Harbor is already naturally deep. That means we wouldn’t be wasting taxpayers’ money by making it a bit deeper to handle the bigger ships coming our way because of the ongoing expansion of the Panama Canal.
And Biden is wasting no time getting into early 2016 presidential-nomination battlegrounds — including our state.
Before coming here Monday he went Sunday to Iowa, where he called John Kerry “one of the best secretaries of state so far in the history of the United States of America.”
Grading on the curve
That’s a stretch for a secretary of state who’s been on that job for less than seven months — and who said last week that a U.S. attack in Syria would be an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.”
Biden didn’t mention Kerry’s secretary of state predecessor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who’s widely regarded as the Democrats’ 2013 front-runner for 2016.
One positive precedent for a Biden bid: He’s been on two straight winning tickets. Since World War II, all three No. 2s on back-to-back winning tickets who later sought the White House (Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush, Al Gore) won the presidential popular vote at least once.
So explore the murky depths at the bottom of tickets by testing your running mate knowledge (answers at column’s end). Hint: Just one answer is based before WWII.
1) Name, since “The Big One,” the two No. 2s on back-to-back winning tickets who didn’t later run for president.
2) Name the man who advocated bombing North Vietnam “back to the Stone Age,” then as a VP nominee three years later said Americans needed to get over their “phobias about nuclear weapons.”
3) Name the VP nominee on the last GOP ticket that failed to carry South Carolina.
4) Name the VP nominee who told a largely black audience that the top man on the opposing ticket “said in the first hundred days he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules. Unchain Wall Street. They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”
5) Name the last two VPs who took that office without first appearing on a presidential ticket.
6) Name the VP nominee who said: “Oil and coal? Of course, it’s a fungible commodity and they don’t flag, you know, the molecules, where it’s going and where it’s not.”
7) Name the last No. 2 on a losing ticket to later win the presidency.
8) Name the issuer of this statement less than four years after coming within one state of winning the vice presidency: “I am and have been willing to take any test necessary to establish the fact that I am not the father of any baby, and I am truly hopeful that a test will be done so this fact can be definitively established.”
That’s the ticket
1) Spiro Agnew and Dick Cheney.
2) Ex-Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay, No. 2 on the 1968 American Independent Party ticket led by George Wallace.
3) Bob Dole in 1976, when Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale tandem thumped the GOP’s Gerald Ford-Dole ticket by a 56-43 percent margin in South Carolina.
4) Biden on Aug. 14, 2012, in Danville, Va.
5) Ford and Nelson Rockefeller.
6) Sarah Palin at a town hall meeting in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Sept. 17, 2008.
7) Franklin D. Roosevelt, James Cox’s No. 2 on the 1920 Democratic ticket that lost in a landslide to the GOP’s dynamic Warren Harding-Calvin Coolidge duo.
8) Seneca native John Edwards, Kerry’s 2004 running mate and the only S.C.-born member of a presidential ticket since Andrew Jackson in 1832.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.