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. Cathy

    Thank God for history!!!

    November 12, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. 3strikes

    history went for nobama, never know. palin drew larger crowds than mccain, star power with many repubs. she'll do her homework and by the time 2012 comes, america will be taking up a new slogan, "nobama change failed, we need palin power"

    November 12, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. malclave

    Hey, CNN, how about taking a breather on the Plain stories and actually do some of that "journalism" reporting on Obama's background?

    I know that you're liberals, and liberals define themselves by their hatred and intolerance, and your current target is Palin... but can't you at least pretend to be competent?

    November 12, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. flash in the pan

    Although her star power and her gender have attracted millions of fans, her redneck ways, extreme right culture, and profound ignorance have alienated multiple hundreds of millions.

    She can forget 2012. First obstacle: the Republican primary. But then the brick wall: a more accomplished, wiser, incumbent Barack Obama, and a world that has abandoned everything Palin stands for.

    November 12, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  5. Larry in WV

    If Sarah Palin was to run she would only garner support from the dwindling silent (now) minority of people lacking the intelligence to see past the devisiveness,hatred and greed of the Republican party.This is perhaps only 20% of the United States population and that number continues to decrease as human beings are evolving into smarter,generous,more inquisitive beings.

    November 12, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. kathy

    Sarah Palin is very egotistical. She has plenty to say about the staffers, etc from the campaign trail...saying many of them are lying, etc as to the clothes, going rogue and so on. What will her reactions be if these staffers come forth w/receipts from their personal credit cards for her purchases? she wasn't a good VP choice...and I doubt very much if she'd be successful as a presidential nominee. She revels in the spotlight and so does her fmaily. she doesn't need a talk show...she needs to be a mother!...and soon to be grandmother, her teenage daughter has dropped out of school and Palin should concentrate on her family and less on herself.

    November 12, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  7. carol62

    Do you think we could let Obama serve one day as President before you people in the media start crowing and speculating about 2012? For goodness sakes, let's talk about the problems facing this country and how we're are going to solve those. Sarah Palin and rest of the GOP hopefuls flocking to Iowa are not important at this time.

    This past election started way too early and now the 24/7 news cycle is trying to begin the next election 4 years early. STOP IT!!

    November 12, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. mary, colorado springs

    Doesn't Palin think it might be wise to see if Obama is going for a second term? If she couldn't beat him in 2008, what makes her think 2012 will be any different? I think she had better not quit her day job just yet.

    I doubt seriously she can get all the experience and knowledge she needs in 4 years to qualify for VP and/or President. She had better slow down, she's moving too fast. Time and experience cannot be rushed.

    In the meantime, Sarah, go back to Alaska and shoot defenseless animals from a helicopter, and field dress a moose for Thanksgiving. That seems to be your level of capability.

    November 12, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  9. Michael

    Palin in 2012?? LoL!! Seeing as Obama and Biden will be in office untill 2016.... she migh as well wait. Then in 2016 she can run against Hillary Clinton!! And seeing as the next 8 years will bring us change for the better, and the republican party will still being trying to figure out how they can "save the country....." and themselves (did you read the Ron Paul article?!).... then the election would be nothing more than a count down to the 3 presidential debates between Clinton and Palin.... and that would be a sight to behold!!! So, either way the article is probably right..... if Palin runs in 2012..... she will be crushed by Obama.... and if she waits untill 2016..... crushed by Clinton....... personally I think she should go with the whole talk show host idea...... "The Late, Late, Late..... might as well be the early morning news show"... with your host Sarah Palin, and her "do-boy" Todd!! (applause)

    Obama/Biden 2008-16!!!!
    Come on Jan. 20th!!!!!

    November 12, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. Allen

    Sarah Palin is awesome! You go girl.......

    November 12, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  11. Dylan from MN

    I just want her to go away. Her lack of intelligence is insulting and bad for this country and the world.

    November 12, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  12. Annette

    Why all the attention now? She needs more then 4 years to run for the top of the ticket. Maybe 2016?? and that is a big maybe.

    November 12, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. Kim

    Well, let's hope history is not on her side. The best thing she could be doing right now is to keep her head down, keep quiet, get back to work, quit giving interviews, and let the dust settle. But the problem is allher gaffes, poor campaign interviews, winking debate performances, and horrible negative campaigning will remain on the internet forever. If she runs for office, there will be a wealth of information for anyone to use against her. And I hope they will if she is that foolish.

    November 12, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  14. Canadian POV

    Common sense and intelligence are working against her. Now that she wants to be the media darling, her ineptitude is shining even brighter. She refused to co-operate with the press during the campaign and maligned the media for its coverage of her. Now she can't even keep her stories straight between one and interview and another. So while running for the second most powerful job in the world, insight into her was not warranted but now she is exploiting herself all over the map. Sadly all she is revealing is what so many worried about - she is and will never be the stuff that presidents are made of.

    Seeing McCain on Leno last night made me so grateful that the citizens of the US voted for a man of reason and intelligence like Obama. I simply cannot imagine a more dangerous world if those two clowns, McCain/Palin actually were at the helm.

    November 12, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. Democrat

    I suuprt Sarah all the way!

    November 12, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. Cindy

    I find it highly amusing that she is suddenly able to do interviews with the main stream media – and many of them, in fact. She is either really good at playing stupid or she is stupid. Either way, she is highly manipulative and scary.

    November 12, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. tara

    Well, I'll be eligible to vote then and you Sarah shall not get my vote!!

    November 12, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. Joe Green

    CNN, give it a rest. The election is over and you've beat this dead horse to a pulp.

    November 12, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  19. MD

    Who needs her...

    November 12, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  20. Kirby

    In about 2 weeks we will forget all about Sarah Palin.

    November 12, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  21. edd

    How about the media give it a rest. Geez!

    November 12, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  22. edd

    How about the media give it a rest.

    Geez!

    November 12, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  23. ASB

    I think a great combo would be Ron Paul/Sarah Palin '12!

    November 12, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  24. Charles

    I like what she had to say. Besides, People are asking HER for interviews. Why should she run and hide?

    November 12, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  25. Paco - Tucson, AZ

    "FDR remains the only losing vice presidential candidate in history to eventually become president."

    And Palin is no Roosevelt.

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