A Heartbeat Away

Now that the quadrennial vice-presidential sweepstakes are at hand, it is worth remembering that a political ticket nearly always wins or loses on the popularity of the presidential candidate. Says Duke University Political Scientist James David Barber: "There is no clear evidence that the Vice President pulls much in the election except as a piece of the presidential candidate's image." Indeed, the importance of the No. 2 nominee may rest in how and why he or she was selected. Notes Hamilton Jordan, Jimmy Carter's chief strategist: "It is the first time people get to see the candidate make a substantive decision."

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