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Remember Spiro Agnew

Posted at 10:26 AM on August 19, 2008 by Tim Nelson (0 Comments)

The Veepstakes are heating up these days, and John McCain is supposedly going to name his pick the Friday before the Republican National Convention opens.

Last night, Time columnist Mark Halperin put a little water on the Gov. Tim Pawlenty flame, during Halperin's talk at Metro State University. It was part of the St. Paulitics series sponsored by the St. Paul Public Library.

spiroagnew.jpgHalperin suggested Mitt Romney might be a hotter prospect and more vice presidential.

But he also raised an interesting point about Pawlenty AND Romney's prospects from a purely technical point of view. Chief state executives, Halperin said, can actually be an uncertain prospect for someone at the top of the ticket.

Proof? The last governor to win election as vice president.

Spiro Agnew was reportedly disliked by Richard Nixon, who didn't want his No. 2 to succeed him.

Agnew implied in his 1980 biography that Nixon and chief of staff Alexander Haig were plotting to assasinate him to preclude his ascension. (Haig, for his part, suggested that if he "suddenly disappeared," his wife might consider looking for him in a recently poured concrete bridge piling in Agnew's native Maryland.)

You know, political rivalries just don't get any nastier than that.

Agnew took care of the problem himself by resigning in disgrace over pre-vice president bribery-related tax evasion charges. He put "nolo contendre" in the public lexicon and teed up the administration of Gerald Ford.

The St. Paulitics series continues tonight, at 7 p.m., at Metro State University, with Susan Estrich. She was Michael Dukakis's 1988 presidential campaign manager and the youngest woman ever to be a Harvard Law School professor.

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