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. Jamie

    So Sarah wants to run again as president in the near future...according to history only one losing vice presidntial candate ever became prsident: FDR. Sorry Sarah but you're no FDR.

    November 12, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. Ken in NC

    History is not the only thing working against Gov. Palin in 2012. There is the lack of knowledge and the fact that she has yet to master the use of the English language. She is about 44 years of age and has had no desire to learn of world events so learning will not be as easy as it seems. She can learn where places are and that they are at war but having an understanding of why they are at was takes time.

    While doing that, she will need to master the use of the English language and stop the habit of stringing together phrases to make statements. Phrases do not a sentence make. She must also become more professional in her speech also by reducing the "YOU BETCHA" type statements.

    The third thing she must do is to stop talking so much.

    November 12, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. Kirk

    What about Al Gore? He won the nomination and some contend won the election!

    November 12, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  4. Nebraskan

    It's one thing to be a VP candidate by having favor among ONE presidential candidate. It's an ENTIRELY different ballgame to acutally BE the presidential candidate and convince AN ENTIRE POLITICAL PARTY to support you.....I'm not sure how her schtick would go over if it was executed against members of her own party during a primary.....it would be interesting though.

    November 12, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  5. Mikey

    Newsflash: Common sense also working against a 2012 Palin run. Please, please, please – GOP please nominater her in 2012, better yet 2016, even better – both!

    Here's one for all the Obama haters out there:

    Getting your message out and fighting smears – $650 million! (record)
    Raising the funds needed – 3.5 million donors! (record by 3 times)
    Executing the best ground campaign in history – 1.5 million volunteers (record)
    Winning the election – 66 million voters! (record by 7 million)

    Watching a bunch of narrow minded fools freak out – Priceless!

    November 12, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  6. Annie

    Of course it is not promising for her! Anyone with half a brain who has been following this woman's campaign would know that. Please – enough with all the Palin nonsense. I don't just speak for myself, but you are turning off a lot of people with the constant coverage!

    November 12, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. Marie in California

    If Palin runs for president in 2012, she will definitely have my vote!

    November 12, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. Angela

    Sarah Palin, please give it a rest. Give us a rest. Go, sit down. Think about why it was you lost....what was your contribution to that loss. Get out of the media spotlight for a minute. Give the public a minute to get used to you being GONE!!! Pehaps they may even miss you and want to hear what you have to say.

    How about you let us hear what John McCain has to say for a moment. Take a cue from his graciousness....study to be quiet. You have read that Bible verse haven't you?

    November 12, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. Greed is not good

    She is attractive and makes some controversy for the ratings. Otherwise she is useless.

    November 12, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. Simmy

    Broun and Todd Palin would make great running mates for their AIP!

    Ignant and Ignant-er 2009!

    November 12, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. NoMcSame

    If she were to get in and I know that she won't, these day's under George Bush would be called the "Good Ole Day's"

    November 12, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. besty ross

    Palin has 2 big problems if she wants to run at the top of the ticket.

    1). Her minister, the witch doctor, Muthee.
    2). Her husband, Todd's, 7 year membership in AIP.

    I don't think dems will go after her for those, but her GOP opponents sure will.

    November 12, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. John in Ohio

    She thinks that she can position herself as the Obama of 2012, the newcomer catapulted onto the stage four years before, captured everyone's attention, and wound up winning big.

    The only problem is that Obama is a unifying force, she is a dividing force, and she only seems brilliant and charismatic to the ignorant and fearful.

    November 12, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. Brian NY

    Four years is a long time, especially with the current state of American politics. Any number of events could happen. If the economy doesn't turn around in four years, or if it gets worse, it will be anybody's game.

    I like Palin's record of reform. I could see her cleaning up some of the mess in DC. So she's not a lawyer, big deal. It seems like all of the "highly intelligent" lawyer types are the ones screwing everything up.

    November 12, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. The New GOP

    -- Objectives of the new GOP --
    *** More war years
    *** Death to Rove v. Wade
    *** More Tax-cuts for the Rich
    *** More Freedom for Wall Street
    *** More Spying on the American people
    *** Better healthcare for the Rich & Healthy
    *** More Drilling opportunities for Exxon-Mobile
    *** More tax-cuts for companies that ship jobs abroad
    *** More Guns in our homes, streets, schools, & shopping malls
    *** More freedom to pollute, forget the liberal environmentalists agenda
    *** Stop giving food stamps: Tell the poor to get rich; then they will get a tax-cut.
    *** Declare War on Science: Ban Stem Cell Research, & Promote Abstinence-Only Sex Education

    November 12, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. NoPalin

    The good Governor should go back home, run her state, and raise her family. Grandma Sarah needs to help those teenagers with their newborn, their wedding, and getting their life on track. If she can't hear God telling her that that's where she belongs, maybe she's listening to another force telling her to keep talking and grabbing the spotlight.
    If she decides to run for national office, her background will be much more scrutinized, and even Republicans may not like what is brought to light. I think it will be interesting if Ted Stevens retains his seat, is thrown out of the Senate, and then she gives up the Governor's office to run in the special election. Then we'll see what Alaskans really think of her..hint, she won't get nearly as much federal money to Alaska as a newbie Senator as her buddy Stevens corralled all those years for her.

    November 12, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  17. Independent Fred

    If she want's to be taken seriously...

    When Stevens wins and gets expelled from the Senate she should apoint herself in the 90 day period. She should then run for senator if she's serious about the presidency.

    She's got ALLOT of learning to do about the world and what better place than the Senate. She also needs to drop the hometown girl nonsense and her fringe leanings.

    She's political creature she can remake herself into something far less scary.

    November 12, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. America demands answers

    Thanks but no thanks to 2012

    November 12, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. dEMOBRAT

    With The big 3 going down and no one able to get credit cards or auto loans, foreclosures, Big bank bailouts and a brand new president why the H**L are we talking about Sarah Palin??

    Is the media just trying to finish her off at this point? Leave the poor woman alone!

    Oh and get back to work reporting on the new Obama administration. We want and need to know what he is up to.

    November 12, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. observer

    Lets all hope that history proves itself right. My ear drums have not healed from the sound of Sarah Palins voice yet.

    November 12, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. donlova

    why wont she just go back to alaska and govern.....isnt that what she was elected to do...the campaign is over please sarah...let it go..

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

    CNN: Please report on Paulsons 'revamped' bail out plan. Use what ever words you choose, but from where I stand it goes like this:

    We asked for a bail out under one plan, it was to help the common people stay in their homes. Now that we have the money, screw that idea, we're going to give it directly to the same people that ruined our economy in the first place, the banks.

    Please, look into it, it's criminal what he's about to do. It's fraud and he should be removed IMMEDIATELY and revert back to the plan that the money was given for in the first place...not this "Switcharoo" BS!

    November 12, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. AL

    OMG!!! The new president didn't even take a seat behind the desk in the oval office yet and they are talking about who is going to run in 2012... Can we at least see the next president get seated first..

    November 12, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Spencer/VA

    She's already proven she's not ready for the big league yet and 4 or 8 more years aren't going to make much of a difference. She stands against mostly what women have been fighting for for years. That alone will not make her the leader of the GOP.

    November 12, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. Honestlady

    ...And who is going to vote for her in 4 years other than the people who voted for McCain this year??? She will still be the same person in 4 years....she might have a little more knowledge...but she will still be the same person.

    November 12, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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