Letters: On The Vice Presidents

Audie Cornish reads emails from listeners about a story on the vice presidents.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. And it's time now for your letters about last week's program.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HAIL, COLUMBIA")

CORNISH: That's "Hail, Columbia," the official march of the vice president. Move over, George Washington. Today may be Presidents Day, but many of you wrote in about our story on the people who have filled the oft-overlooked, mostly underwhelming role of the vice president. Many of them are all but lost to obscurity such as Thomas Riley Marshall, Woodrow Wilson's second in command. Some were the target of contemporary ridicule, as with the case of Lyndon Johnson's veep, Hubert Humphrey.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHATEVER BECAME OF HUBERT?")

TOM LEHRER: (Singing) Once he shone on his own. Now he sits home alone and waits for the phone to ring.

CORNISH: And then there was the case of Thomas Jefferson's vice president in his second term, you know, George Clinton.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GIVE UP THE FUNK")

GEORGE CLINTON: (Singing) Ow, we want the funk, give up the funk.

CORNISH: No, not funk master George Clinton. We're talking about New York Governor George Clinton. Mark Bilik(ph) of Ephrata, Pennsylvania, was one of a number of listeners who wrote to say they enjoyed the joke. Mr. Bilik writes: The George Clinton gag that graced your vice president segment was simply hilarious. I must have laughed for a full minute straight following that reference. Thank you for brightening the day of your listeners. You certainly brightened mine.

Karl Qualls of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, adds: One must admit that our divisive politics would be greatly enhanced with the George Clinton as our vice president. Our parliament needs to be more funkadelic. But Robert Reeser(ph) of Tallahassee, Florida, was dismayed by what he says was our flipping treatment of America's vice presidents. He writes: It is true that a number of them had undistinguished political careers, but that's certainly was not the case for many others. Mr. Reeser goes on to say: My overall impression of the story was that it was sophomoric. Well, please keep those letters coming. Just go to npr.org and click on contact us.

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