How much do you know about the office of vice president?

Daniel Webster turned down running for vice president in 1848, saying, "I do not propose to be buried until I am really dead."

John Adams, the first U. S. vice president, wrote that the vice presidency was "the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived."

We usually hear more about our vice presidents when they are campaigning than when they are in office.

HBO has an Emmy-winning sitcom called Veep that explores the absurd and tricky situations politicians endure.

But who are these people, and what do we remember about them?

Believe it or not, the first televised vice-presidential debate wasn't until 1976, between Republican Robert Dole and Democrat Walter Mondale.

In honor of Thursday night's "Veep" debate between Democratic incumbent Joe Biden and Republican candidate Paul Ryan, we've put together a quiz to test your knowledge of those who've held the office -- and those who've run for it unsuccessfully. To see how well you do,the answers are posted below the list of questions..


1. How many times did Joe Biden seek the presidential nomination before being selected as Barack Obama's running mate in the 2008 election?

2. Which last name did three vice presidents share (two of them became president).

3. What is the name of the first female vice presidential-candidate of a major party? Hint, it was 1984.

4. Which vice president has won an Academy Award and a Nobel Peace Prize?

5. Who was at a disadvantage as vice president when he did not have authoritative knowledge of the atomic bomb development?

6. Who was the youngest vice president?

7. What is the shortest number of days a vice president served? A. 31 B. 82 C. 120

8. True or false: The U.S. government always has had a vice president in office.

9. Which vice president resigned because of accusations of political corruption, a year before his boss resigned?

10. What is the name of the house where the vice president lives today?

11. Which vice-presidential candidate was the subject of an HBO film that won multiple Emmy awards, including for the actor who portrayed the candidate?

12. Which vice presidents are included on Mount Rushmore?

13. Who would become president if the president and vice president both became incapacitated?

14. Name the two vice presidents from Texas.

15. Yes or no: Can the elected president and vice president be candidates from different political parties?


1. Twice, 20 years apart, in 1988 and again in 2008. He lost in the primaries both times. Biden served as senator from Delaware for 36 years before becoming vice president.

2. Johnson. Richard M. Johnson, vice president 1837-1841, served with President Martin Van Buren. Andrew Johnson became president in 1865 when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Lyndon B. Johnson, 1961-1963, was sworn in as president after John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

3. Geraldine Ferraro. Walter Mondale, former vice president in Jimmy Carter's administration and Democratic candidate for president in 1984, selected New Yorker Ferraro for his running mate. This was a bold strategy in the '80s, before any female secretary of state and shortly after Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O'Connor as the first female Supreme Court justice. But Reagan won over Mondale and Ferraro in a landslide due to the incumbent's popularity.

4. Al Gore. He served two terms as vice president with Bill Clinton and was the Democratic presidential candidate in 2000. Environmental issues and global warming are his signature projects and the reasons for his Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. His documentary film about the environment, An Inconvenient Truth, was awarded an Oscar. Another trivia bit: His college roommate at Harvard was actor Tommy Lee Jones.

5. Harry S. Truman. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president four times with three different vice presidents. Truman had been a senator from Missouri when he joined the ticket in 1944. He served for 82 days before Roosevelt died. The atomic bomb experiments were a top-secret war project, and Truman was forced to make decisions about their implementation. As president, he set up the National Security Council and ensured that the vice president participated so that no future vice president would be caught unaware, especially in the middle of a war.

6. John C. Breckinridge, 36. He served with James Buchanan, 1857-1861. If you guessed Dan Quayle, 1989-1993, he was third-youngest at age 41. The second-youngest veep was Richard Nixon, 1953-1961. The youngest president was Theodore Roosevelt, 42, who had been vice president for six months when President William McKinley was shot in 1901. The qualifications for vice president are the same as for president: 35 years old and a natural-born citizen.

7. A. 31 days. March 4, 1841, was inauguration day for President William Henry Harrison and Vice President John Tyler. Harrison caught a cold that turned into pneumonia and died April 4, so Tyler was the first vice president to become president. Harrison was the first president to die in office (but two previous vice presidents had died).

8. False. Vice presidents have died or resigned seven times since 1789, and an additional nine moved up to the presidency. This led to 37 years when no vice president was in office. In 1965, Congress passed the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, setting up the procedures to fill a vacancy in the vice presidency.

9. Spiro Agnew. Agnew served a full term with Richard Nixon and was re-elected in 1972. He resigned nine months after his second inauguration because of an investigation of improper contracts awarded when he was governor of Maryland. An Eagle Scout and college football star, Rep. Gerald Ford was selected by Congress as his replacement. After Nixon resigned over the Watergate affair, Ford became the only president who was not elected to the executive branch.

10. Admiral's House at the Naval Observatory. For the first 200 years of our country, the vice president lived wherever he wanted -- hotels, rented houses, sometimes not even residing in Washington, D.C. In 1974, the three-story white brick Admiral's House was officially designated for the vice president. Walter Mondale was the first vice president to reside in the official home.

11. Sarah Palin. The Alaska governor emerged on the national scene in 2008 when John McCain selected her to join the Republican ticket. The HBO film Game Change, about their campaign, recently won Emmy Awards for top miniseries or movie, as well as for writing, directing and acting. Actress Julianne Moore, who portrayed Palin, won best actress. The film was based on a book by journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin.

12. Thomas Jefferson (vice president 1797-1801) and Theodore Roosevelt (1901). The 60-foot granite faces sculpted in the Black Hills of South Dakota were completed in 1941. Four presidents are commemorated: George Washington, Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

13. Speaker of the House. After that, the line goes to the president pro tempore of the Senate, secretary of state, then other Cabinet members. The current speaker is John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio.

14. John Nance Garner (1933-1941) and Lyndon Baines Johnson (1961-1963). Garner was speaker of the House before he was elected Franklin Roosevelt's vice president for eight years. LBJ was a powerful member of the Senate when he was selected the vice-presidential candidate to the much younger John F. Kennedy, whom he called "sonny boy." Dick Cheney (2001-2009) lived a few years in Texas but is considered a Wyoming resident.

15. No, not any longer. The Constitution originally set up the Electoral College to operate so that the candidate with the most votes was elected president. The winner of the next vote tally was vice president, essentially a runner-up. After Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson was vice president to Federalist John Adams, the flaws in that procedure were apparent. The 12th Amendment, passed in 1804, designates a separate ballot for each position.

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