November 12th, 2008
02:30 PM ET
6 years ago

History working against a 2012 Palin run for the White House

If Sarah Palin runs for the White House in 2012, history suggests her chances of success are not good.
If Sarah Palin runs for the White House in 2012, history suggests her chances of success are not good.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – If Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin decides to run for the White House in 2012, she'll be bucking history.

Just eight days after Senator John McCain and Palin lost the election to Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden, speculation is swirling around a possible Palin run for the top spot in four years.

But a look back at recent history shows that the track record of vice presidential running mates on the losing ticket who ran for their party's presidential nomination in the next election cycle is not a promising one.

Four years ago, John Edwards was in much the same situation Palin finds herself in right now. Edwards was John Kerry's running mate on the losing ticket in 2004, and officially launched his presidential bid in this campaign in December of 2006 — only to come in second in the Iowa caucuses this January, followed by a third place finish the following week in the New Hampshire primary. The former North Carolina senator withdrew from the race for the White House on January 30.

Go back another four years and it's a similar story. Sen. Joe Lieberman was Al Gore's running mate on the losing ticket in 2000. Lieberman launched his own bid for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, but dropped out on February 3 of that year after losing six straight primaries.

Vice President Dan Quayle and his boss, President George H.W. Bush, went down to defeat in the 1992 election. Quayle raised money and considered runs in 1996 and 2000, though he ultimately never ran in any primaries or caucuses.

Vice President Walter Mondale and his boss, President Jimmy Carter, lost the 1980 election. Mondale ran for the White House in 1984, winning the Democratic presidential nomination, before losing the general election in a landslide to President Ronald Reagan.

Sen. Bob Dole was the vice presidential nominee on the losing Republican ticket in 1976. Dole briefly ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980, which Ronald Reagan won, and made a more serious effort in 1988, before losing to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Dole eventually won the GOP nomination in 1996, before losing the general election to President Bill Clinton.

If that's not enough, both 1972 Democratic vice presidential nominee Sargent Shriver and 1968 VP nominee Ed Muskie ran for the top spot in their party four years later. Each lost their nomination battle.

"Since the early 1800's, only one losing vice presidential candidates has ever won their party's nomination four years later - and that person, Walter Mondale, had already served as vice president for four years, giving him an institutional advantage that Palin would lack in 2012 ," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Holland adds that Palin has many advantages that guys like Sargent Shriver and Joe Lieberman lacked: a potential fan base in the millions, the star power that she brought to the McCain ticket, and her gender — now considered a major advantage. Still, “being on the losing ticket has not traditionally been a good place to start from if you want to win your party's nomination four years down the road," adds Holland.

There is one bright spot for Palin when it comes to political history, though it suggests she may want to wait more than four years to run for the White House.

Franklin Roosevelt was the unsuccessful Democratic vice-presidential candidate in 1920, won the governorship of New York eight years later, and used that as a springboard to the White House in 1932. FDR remains the only losing vice presidential candidate in history to eventually become president.


Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. Dale, Phoenix

    If Sarah Palin is EVEN concidered for office...I am leaving this country....Because, she is a complete moron and not fit to lead anything more than her own family.
    The only reason she was elected Govener, is because Alaska is mostly Horny Men that wanted to put pretty woman in office

    November 12, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. Miss Congeniality

    Maybe she can run against Sandra Bullock and if she wins she can wear a crown while she addresses the UN.

    November 12, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. REG in AZ

    Sarah Palin is literally a joke, a ridiculous joke of poor taste. If the ultra-conservatives think that the Republican Party can present and sell Sarah Palin (and Todd Palin) to the American voters as being fit for the White House, then that is an insult and tells what they actually think of the voters' intellegence and their own ability to get away with the manipulation. For them it would be seeking another puppet to do their bidding but much like McCain they could be unpleasantly surprised and for America it would just be another disaster.

    November 12, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. Crystal

    How can you elect a woman who doesn't even know the difference between her parties' symbols? she wore a scarf with the Democratic donkey all over it and said she got confused???? She can't decipher between a donkey and an elephant (representative of the Republican party). Any one who can't see how dumb she is is as blind as Stevie Wonder.

    November 12, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. Janice

    Sarah , You need to take some advice honey, Go home before you are turned into the next Tanya Harding, you could possibly end up in a wrestling arena!! You are looking so desperate for your fifteen minutes. Stop before you ruin it all, Go back to Alaska do your job, well, and get some experience, you might be better off that way.

    November 12, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  6. beth

    I can't believe that anyone would encourage Sarah Palin to run for any elected office. She's stupid. We just elected a president who is highly respected, why would we ever want to bring in a dud like Palin. Besides the fact that she isn't very bright, she carries too much baggage with her...like her ties to the AIP, her abuse of power (which she was guilty of when investigated objectively), her 'Triggy Bear' lies...

    I think she might want to find a Mrs. America pageant to compete in. She may have a chance to finally win her crown there.

    November 12, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. ShawnT

    Barely a week after the elections, Sara Palin proves she was and still is a moron. Protocol for presidential candidacy dictates that prospective candidates do not allude to their possible candidacy at least until the mid-term elections. Palin is clearly clueless about that.
    Besides, she can't see Africa (the 'country) from her house, so she wouldn't know anything about it.

    Wasilla, please take your village idiot back.

    November 12, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Dale, Phoenix

    Now that I think about it...I hope she does run in 2012...
    That would insure that Obama gets re-elected

    November 12, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Jeff from Atlanta

    I am amazed at how many people on this blog claim to be more intelligent, have more common sense, etc. etc. etc. than Sarah Palin.

    It must make you feel so stupid that someone so inferior to you could advance so much farther and be so much more of a success than you.

    Who is the stupid one here????

    November 12, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. spread the wealth

    who on this earth can touch obama in 2012 ??? can anyone say who?? who?????

    November 12, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. BJM

    Could we PLEASE not see Palin's face on the news every day?
    I thought we decided we didn't want her.

    November 12, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. paul oregon

    one wk after the election palin is stillcampaining why doesnt the state of alaska cut her lose take her wages and pay anyone else that
    is willing to work for alaskans???

    she then could devote full time to campaining for the gop and insuraning another democrat victory yes

    cnn could after the last 4-5 days of there love affair with palin have anew poll on why are there ratings are going going down.

    November 12, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Shirley "60"

    Inspite of everything that Palin has to say, I am no more impressed with her, than I was when McCain made the worst possible pick of her as a running mate. She is what I like to call a "pushy broad", and as a wife, mother, and full-time worker, I can honestly say that I cannot stand her type. She must wear her family and friends out when she wants anything just like children do. She is being very spoiled and immature with how she is conducting herself. I am more convinced than ever that she is the diva that she appears to be, and that she did not have the country or McCain's best interest at heart when she was running. I hope that we here in the lower 48's, soon see and hear the last from Palin, for she is turning into a really big fat habitual liar, and it is not attractive. Doesn't she have a state and a family to look after?

    November 12, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. Timi O.

    Unbelievable. Who in their right mind would trust the presidency to this pyscho, who's trying to "plough her way" into the White House? Who wants that National Security disaster on their hands? This chick needs to sit down. If she was my wife I would just smile and say "Honey. Would you like me to take you to the mall"? Anything to get her off that topic. Are you kidding me? She's a dangerous Barbie Doll who wants to run for President. Like me trying to perform a heart transplant. Not in my department.
    Somebody needs to talk to her. She's really embarrasing this country. She's not fit to lead. Alaska must be a school for this chick to be their governor. Goodness gracious.

    November 12, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Michelle, PA

    The "history" working against Palin is her lack of any working knowledge of the subject.

    November 12, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. Al in VA

    Palin may not win a race in Alaska much less a national race. She is a bundle of ambition though!!!

    November 12, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. Cindy, California

    Palin is the quintessential demagogue for extreme right wing nut ideology, visibly lacking self-awareness of her own knowledge deficit, and void credible character traits of true leadership.

    November 12, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. lumpy

    Wow, still talking bout Palin. OK then, Sarah Palin is an idiot that is trying to reverse the image that she gave herself of a lipstick wearing bulldog for McCain that she gave herself. I still have no idea if she had any original ideas at all, or just wanted to spread hate of Obama to every redneck hillbilly that went to her rallies. I do know however that if she does decide to run in 2012 that the only votes she gets would be from the like minded, hard-core, "christian" hate mongers that she tried to rile up in this election.
    So go for it Sarah! should be funny to see a bigger loss than this years republican candidate had, and if i were the democrat planning on running in 2012, i would hope you would be my opposition, I wouldn't even have to campaign, just let you do it for me.

    November 12, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. a brighter day

    if i never have to hear or see this woman's name again, it will be too soon. sick of her.

    November 12, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. Nancy

    There is no way Palin will ever win any national office. The post by Ken in NC explains in all. I feel badly saying this, but Palin is also starting to look a bit nuts by being on TV so much. She is not repairing her image one bit. Cooking moose burgers in a shiny black outfit will full over done make up and high heels? She looked ridiculous on the FOX (faux news) station. She needs to GO AWAY for a good long while. She looks narcissistic.

    November 12, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. Cheryl from Minnesota

    Let her keep flapping her gums, she will just turn more people away! She'll look like an idiot. Hurray!

    November 12, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  22. Michael

    I liked her better when she wouldn't talk to the media!! I agree, she should be quiet! vawy, vawy, quiet..... like she were hunting wabbits!! or murdering moose to make chili.

    November 12, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. Dan, Il

    The last I checked, the track record for a black person to be elected president wasn't so great, either – but it happened.

    Good luck, Obama – you'll need it in 2012 if you don't govern to the center.

    November 12, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. MG

    Please stop doing stories on Palin. Just let her to slip back into the Alaskan political system silently. Thanks.

    November 12, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  25. Cheryl from Minnesota

    She has to go back to school and brush up on foreign policy and geography!

    November 12, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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