The Office of the Vice Presidency is a unique, and ever-developing, position. What have the vice presidents of the United States had to say about the role? What have others had to say about them? Keep reading these vice president quotes to find out!
For as long as I can remember, the President and the Vice President have always seemed to have a decent personal relationship. However, that has not always been the case.
Originally, the constitution was written that the person who received the second-highest number of electoral votes would win the Vice Presidency.
Hamilton illustrated the problem with this setup in the scene where Aaron Burr tells Jefferson he is excited to serve with him, and Jefferson and Madison quip that they need to change that.
Burr was the third Vice President of the United States, and by the time the 1804 election came around, they had changed the system to what we know today. Jefferson had not enjoyed being John Adams’ vice president because of their conflicting views, and he did not like working with Burr.
Don’t forget to also check out these wise presidential quotes from our leaders of the past.
Vice President quotes from those who held (or were offered) the Office of the Vice President
1. “I do not propose to be buried until I am dead.” — Daniel Webster, turning down the vice presidency in 1839
2. “Being vice president is comparable to a man in a cataleptic fit; he cannot speak; he cannot move; he suffers no pain; he is perfectly conscious of all that goes on, but has no part in it.” — Thomas R. Marshall, vice president under Woodrow Wilson
3. “I go to funerals. I go to earthquakes.” — Nelson Rockefeller
4. “I am vice president. In this I am nothing, but I may be everything.” — John Adams
5. “The second office of this government is honorable and easy, the first is but a splendid misery.” — Thomas Jefferson in 1797, when he was vice president
6. “I would a great deal rather be anything, say, professor of history, then vice president.” — Theodore Roosevelt
7. “I have no interest in it. Might very well turn it down, indeed, and probably would.” — Al Gore
8. “I think I’m ready to lead. I’m ready first to be a supportive vice president so that the presidency of Hillary Clinton is a fantastic one. But if something were to put that in my path, as much as any human being would be ready, I’d be ready. And you gotta approach it with humility.” — Tim Kaine
9. “I never had a boss. I don’t know how I’d handle it.” – Joe Biden, when asked in July about the possibility that they might select him to be Barack Obama’s running mate.
10. “As his vice president for eight years, I learned more from Ronald Reagan than from anyone I encountered in all my years of public life.” — George H. W. Bush
11. “I’m going to be a vice president very much like George Bush was. He proved to be a very effective vice president, perhaps the most effective we’ve had in a couple of hundred years.” — Dan Quayle
12. “I’ll tell you, Lyndon, the vice presidency isn’t worth a pitcher of warm spit.” — John Nance Garner
13. “… the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.” — John Adams
Vice President quotes from spouses, family members, and friends
14. “You’re not going to take it, are you?” (His response was, “I suppose I’ll have to.” ) — Grace Coolidge to her husband, Calvin, after his nomination for Vice President in 1920.
15. “I was a Senate spouse for many, many years. I kept my own career. I was teaching and Joe was doing politics. I realized when we were elected vice president that I had a platform and I knew I was not going to waste my platform. It was going to focus on women and girls’ education.” — Jill Biden
16.“I know my father will be a great vice president.” — Beau Biden
17. “If you are the wife of a governor or the wife of a vice president, I think you can be prepared for it.” — Barbara Bush
If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of Barbara Bush quotes that will help you understand the complexities of life.
18. “How rude would I be, walking around and saying: Hello, I’m Eleanor Mondale. My father was Vice President of the United States. Treat me differently.” — Eleanor Mondale
19. “When my father became vice president, I was a sophomore in high school. I’d do things like go on a run with my soccer team and purposely dodge the security van. Then my parents compromised with the Secret Service when I went to college. I just had a panic button in my dorm room, so if I pressed that, they’d be there within 2 or 3 minutes.” — Kristin Gore
20. “Listen, I have a great affection and respect for Joe Biden. I think he’s been a great vice president. He’s taken on a lot of tough assignments for our administration.” — David Axelrod
Vice President quotes from and about the women considered for the job
21. “Vice president – it has such a nice ring to it!” — Geraldine Ferraro
22. “Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be Vice President of the United States of America. Let’s get that straight. She’s a truly close personal friend. She is qualified to be President of the United States of America. She’s easily qualified to be Vice President of the United States of America.” — Joe Biden
23. “I readily admit I was not an expert on foreign policy but I was knowledgeable and I didn’t need a man who was the Vice President of the United States and my opponent turning around and putting me down.” — Geraldine Ferraro
24. “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.” — Kamala Harris
25. “What a testament it is to Joe’s character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exist in our country and select a woman as his Vice President.” — Kamala Harris
26. “In a media instant, Sarah Palin went from an unknown moose hunter to a mass phenomenon on the precipice of becoming the vice President of the United States.” — Andrew Breitbart
27. “For Sarah Palin, the least experienced on the world stage, the stress of maintaining the fiction that she was qualified to be vice president sent her over the deep end almost immediately. She went off on a ferocious spending spree that might have killed a lesser woman. Katie Couric’s straightforward questions unraveled her.” — Tina Brown
28. “Vice President Biden is the real deal. He’ll give it to you straight. He communicates in a way that I think connects with people at a real level.” — Michael Nutter
Vice president quotes about their role
29. “The vice president has two duties. One is to inquire daily as to the health of the president, and the other is to attend the funerals of Third World dictators. And neither of those do I find an enjoyable exercise.” — John McCain
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of John McCain quotes about character, America and more.
30. “And the primary role of the Vice President of the United States of America is to support the President of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there’s a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit. The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress.” ― Joe Biden
31. “What is the vice presidency? The Constitution dictates only two duties: casting the deciding vote if the Senate is deadlocked and replacing the president if he dies or is impeached. Apart from waiting for those two things to happen, you made the rest up and were duly forgotten by history. The exception being Aaron Burr, who shot someone, decisively lowering the bar for the rest of us.” ― Austin Grossman
32. “You shut the door; you tell the boss exactly what you think. But when the door opens, the job of the vice president is to stand right next to the president and implement the policy that he’s decided. And I’m prepared to do that.” — Mike Pence
33. “Common wisdom dictates that the vice president should provide balance to the ticket by representing a different part of the country, another set of experiences, or a basketful of electoral votes.” — Madeleine M. Kunin
34. “The vice president can play a real role in that, in helping solve some of the biggest problems in the country.” — John Hickenlooper
35. “I pretended to learn to fly-fish; I watched sporting events. In Maine, I was assaulted by a lobster; it seized my lapel in a threatening manner. I tasted local foods and admired factories, farms, department stores, hotels, and (unless I’m misremembering) several empty plots of land…” ― Austin Grossman
36. “What is it like to be made vice-president? On one level, it’s a nearly hallucinatory degree of success. I was barely forty years old, and a shaky, sixty-three-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the entire Western world.” ― Austin Grossman
37. “Every vice president since Mondale has lived up on this hill, on the twelve-acre campus of the Naval Observatory in Northwest Washington. It’s a pretty house with a wraparound porch and a white turret.” — Jeanne Marie Laskas
38. “Dick Cheney and Al Gore have redefined the role of the vice president in the minds of the public. It should be a big job, beyond simply checking the health status of the president.” — Chuck Todd
39. “Vice-presidents are at times tasked with issuing direct broadsides against enemies while the top guy stays above the fray. But never before has a vice president served as an attack dog against his own party’s voters.” — John Podhoretz
Funny Vice President quotes
40. “The Vice President is the bridesmaid, and nobody cares about you. Nobody wants you. You’re just in the way. You’re there to play a subsidiary role. You’re like the middle child or the poor relation.” — Tim Matheson
41. “Being president does seem a lot more stressful than being vice president.” — Robert Sapolsky
42. “As a dad, you are the Vice President of the executive branch of parenting. It doesn’t matter what your personality is like, you will always be Al Gore to your wife’s Bill Clinton. She feels the pain and you are the annoying nerd telling them to turn off the lights.” — Jim Gaffigan
43. “Democracy means that anyone can grow up to be president, and anyone who doesn’t grow up can be vice president.” — Johnny Carson
44. “The President has only 190 million bosses. The Vice President has 190 million and one.” — Hubert H. Humphrey
45. “You know rule one for the vice president is make sure you never upstage the president, right? It’s rule one.” — Ed Rendell
46. “Perhaps the cruelest thing ever said of Hubert Humphrey was that he had the soul of a vice president.” — Susan Estrich
47. “I am Al Gore, and I used to be the next President of the United States of America.” — Al Gore
48. “When George Bush asked me to sign on, it obviously wasn’t because he was worried about carrying Wyoming. We got 70 percent of the vote in Wyoming, although those three electoral votes turned out to be pretty important last time around.” — Dick Cheney
49. “The man with the best job in the country is the vice-president. All he has to do is get up every morning and say, ‘How is the president?’” — Will Rogers
50. “I spent several years in a North Vietnamese prison camp in the dark, fed with scraps. Do you think I want to do that all over again as Vice President of the United States?” — John McCain
Thought-provoking vice president quotes by vice presidents
51. “The chief problem of low-income farmers is poverty.” – Nelson Rocketfeller
52. “You have to see and smell and feel the circumstances of people to really understand them.” – Kamala Harris
53. “If you give a person a fish, they’ll fish for a day. But if you train a person to fish, they’ll fish for a lifetime.” – Dan Quayle
54. “A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government.” – Al Gore
55. “If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.” – Dan Quayle
56. “Freedom of speech is useless without freedom of thought.” – Spiro T. Agnew
57. “I do find that the mainstream media oftentimes is what I would consider off base or has a bias.” – Dick Cheney
58. “The United States needs to be not so much loved as it needs to be respected.” – Dick Cheney
59. “Leadership in today’s world requires far more than a large stock of gunboats and a hard fist at the conference table.” – Hubert H. Humphrey
60. “Never spend your money before you have earned it.” – Thomas Jefferson
Which of these vice president quotes is your favorite?
The founding fathers created the vice president role, in case the president died or became incapacitated. There was not a great deal of thought given to what they would do all day.
Since 1789, the vice president has had to assume the role of presidency nine times. Eight of those times, it was because the president had died. The other time was because the president resigned. The speaker of the house is third in line but has never been called to serve.
These presidents started as vice presidents and rose to the role intra-term: John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester A. Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Gerald Ford.
The vice presidents, over the last 25 years, have carved out policies and causes that are important to them. We are now entering a historic part of our nation’s history, the first woman vice president! I am excited to see the relationship develop between her and Joe Biden. It will be interesting to see what she accomplishes during their term.
Which of these vice president quotes and sayings is your favorite? Do you have any other insightful quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.