12:00 PM EST, January 31, 2013
Jules Witcover's commentary ("Don't count Biden out in 2016," Jan. 29) contrasts the vice president's potency with former vice presidents who had little influence or significance in American history. Indeed, when Lyndon Johnson was broached by John Kennedy in 1960 to be Kennedy's running mate, LBJ allegedly asked his mentor and fellow Texan, John Nance Garner, about the vice presidency. Garner, who was Roosevelt's veep between 1933 and 1941, allegedly replied, "Lyndon, the vice presidency isn't worth a bucket of spit!"
LBJ accepted the offer anyway and when Kennedy was assassinated became president. Mr. Witcover's comments were excellent but he omitted a major reason for the ascendancy of the position in the 1960s and 1970s. President Kennedy was assassinated, as were his brother Robert Kennedy in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the same year and candidate George Wallace was seriously wounded shortly afterward as was President Ronald Reagan in the early1980s.
President Gerald Ford barely missed being shot in the 1970s.
These violent acts reminded Americans how fragile the lives of our leaders are.
H. L. Goldstein, Towson
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