ASPPA Connect Observes Presidents Day

By John Iekel • February 15, 2018 • 0 Comments
In observance of Presidents Day on Monday, Feb. 19, the ASPPA offices will be closed. Accordingly, ASPPA Connect will not be published on Feb. 19. ASPPA Connect will reappear on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

Everyone is familiar with the pantheon of U.S. presidents, but with the one-heartbeats-away? Not so much. So here’s a look at some of the 48 people who could have been among the chief executives.

Actually, 13 of them did become president.

  • Seven of them took office on the death of the president under whom they were elected vice president: John Tyler (William Henry Harrison, 1841), Andrew Johnson (Abraham Lincoln, 1865), Chester Arthur (James A. Garfield, 1881), Theodore Roosevelt (William McKinley, 1901), Calvin Coolidge (Warren G. Harding, 1923), Harry S. Truman (Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1945) and Lyndon B. Johnson (John F. Kennedy, 1963).


  • Four of them, John Adams (1797-1801), Thomas Jefferson (1801-09), Martin Van Buren (1837-41) and George H.W. Bush (1989-93) were elected to the presidency to succeed the president under whom they had served as vice president.


  • One of them, Richard Nixon, lost when he ran for president in 1960 at the end of his two terms as vice president during the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-61). But then he ran again in 1968 and won, serving then as the 37th president (1969-74).


  • Gerald Ford may have had the most unusual path of all. A member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan, he was chosen to serve as vice president in 1973 after then-Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned. Less than a year later, Ford became president when Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974. Ford is the only president who came to office through a path other than being part of a major party ticket or a candidate in a national election.


Aside from Nixon in 1960, four other vice presidents unsuccessfully sought the highest office as the nominees of their party: John C. Breckinridge (1860), Hubert Humphrey (1968), Walter Mondale (1984) and Al Gore (2000).

Two vice presidents served under different presidents: George Clinton served under both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, while John C. Calhoun served under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.

Adlai Stevenson I served as vice president during Grover Cleveland’s second term, 1893-97. He then was running mate in William Jennings Bryan’s second unsuccessful run for the presidency in 1900. His son, Adlai Stevenson II, served as governor of Illinois and was twice the Democrats’ unsuccessful nominee for president, in 1952 and 1956, and later served as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations during the administration of John F. Kennedy.