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History Tells Us That VP Pick Will Be A Surprise

June 24, 2012

Great reminder.

While every eventual GOP nominee in the last five non-incumbent presidential cycles began the race as a favorite, the same cannot be said of their VP picks, all of whom were initially regarded inside the Beltway echo chamber either as blips on the political radar or not on the screen at all.

After Vice President George H.W. Bush wrapped up the Republican nomination in 1988, his aides quietly circulated a list of running-mate possibilities, which included both Dole and Kemp among the favorites.

According to a Washington Post story in July of that year, former President Richard Nixon had offered Bush some advice: make the “short list” appear to be as long as possible.

“Once you get it down to two or three people,” Nixon told him, “see to it that a dozen or so names get out in the press. It’ll be a sop to everyone on the list, and it will keep the press off the trail.”

The eventual pick that year, Dan Quayle, scarcely got any ink as a serious possibility until just before Bush added him to the ticket on the second day of the Republican National Convention in New Orleans.

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