Candidates And Support For Their Running Mate

There has been a lot of attention paid to John McCain’s statement on This Week that he would not necessarily support Sarah Palin if she runs for president in 2012. CNN describes the exchange:

Sen. John McCain said Sunday he would not necessarily support his former running mate if she chose to run for president.

Speaking to ABC’s “This Week,” McCain was asked whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin could count on his support.

“I can’t say something like that. We’ve got some great other young governors. I think you’re going to see the governors assume a greater leadership role in our Republican Party,” he said.

He then mentioned governors Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Jon Huntsman of Utah.

McCain said he has “the greatest appreciation for Gov. Palin and her family, and it was a great joy to know them.”

“She invigorated our campaign” against Barack Obama for the presidency, he said.

McCain was pressed on why he can’t promise support for the woman who, just months ago, he named as the second best person to lead the nation.

“Have no doubt of my admiration and respect for her and my view of her viability, but at this stage, again … my corpse is still warm, you know?” he replied.

While it is hard to see anyone in their right mind endorsing this candidate, it is hardly shocking that a candidate might not support their former running mate. Al Gore did not support Joe Lieberman in 2004. John Kerry did not endorse John Edwards in 2008.

While ideally a vice presidential choice should be for someone qualified to be president, other political factors are often involved–far more in the case of Palin than in general. Even should the vice presidential candidate be qualified to be president, a presidential candidate might balance the ticket with a running mate with views different from their own. Even if Palin had the intellectual qualifications to be president, it might also make sense that McCain would prefer someone from a different wing of  the party to be the 2012 candidate as opposed to his running mate.

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