Jason Sudeikis, our favorite Joe Biden impersonator, is back at it again with SNL’s “Biden Bash”…
An office as dignified as the vice presidency has its own share of funny and embarrassing moments. Yes, beneath the rigid exterior of the federal government and the congregation of seasoned public servants are simple human beings subject to the trials and tribulations of everyday life. And, much like us, they too must learn to cope with the unpleasant consequences of their unscripted actions. Political comedians live for moments like these to humanize our political leaders and bring them down from their pedestals.
Perhaps the most comical vice president we have had thus far was Gerald Ford.
The 40th Vice President was nicknamed “The Accidental President.” Although the most athletic professional to ever occupy the federal office (having been a former football star), Ford built up a colorful medley of factual errors and physical accidents by the end of his term in the office that gave comedians like SNL’s Chevy Chase new material daily.
Many a time, the comical display of his sports debacles and grammatical faux-pas on record claimed the spotlight in preference to other aspects of his career. The media — which was largely responsible for contributing to his klutzy reputation — perhaps drastically curtailed the seriousness of it all to provide the nation with some comical relief in a time of great fear and uncertainty, as the Soviet and Communism grasp strengthened.
Images of Gerald Ford falling down on the stairs of Air Force One, tumbling down a ski slope, and bumping is head on a helicopter doorway still hold comical value many years after his terms in office. Of course, what is more satisfying for people than knowing their leader to embody appropriate grace and humility even in embarrassing moments?
Mr. Ford had a good sense of sportsmanship and owned up to his political mistakes with the shrug of the shoulder and a witty repartee. He was the ideal man to blur the class distinction and remind us all of our own imperfections. A complete recollection of his comical mishaps is compiled into a single book, Humor and the Presidency, courtesy of the vice president himself, for those wanting a further delver into his humorous legacy.
VicePresidents.com takes a look at what Vice President Biden has been up to lately…
In a “Fireside Google+ Hangout” the Vice President clarified his position on gun control, stating that it’s not so much the assault rifle as it is the high cartridge capacity that worries him.
“More people out there get shot with a Glock that has cartridges in [high-capacity magazines],” said Biden, who is chairing the committee on gun control. “I’m much less concerned, quite frankly, with what you’d call an ‘assault weapon’ than I am with magazines, and the number of rounds that can be held in a magazine.”
For the record, shotguns should be your weapon of choice if you need to protect your family, says the VP.
“A shotgun will keep you a lot safer — a double-barreled shotgun — than an assault weapon in somebody’s hand who doesn’t know how to use it, even one who does know how to use it. You know, it’s harder to use an assault weapon to hit something than it is a shotgun,” Biden said in his fireside chat.
But then things got weird.
“You want to keep people away in an earthquake? Buy some shotgun shells,” he added.
A tragic accident occurred at an event where Joe Biden was speaking. A secret service dog fell 6 stories off a parking ramp while doing a routine sweep of the structure. This was the first Secret Service dog casualty since the organization started the K9 program in 1975. A Wonkette satire joked that the VP wouldn’t run in 2016 because he “killed a dog.”
(We say, “Too soon, Wonkette… too soon!”)
The VP has publicly said he loves The Onion’s humorous portrayal of him. However, they’ve got one small detail about him all wrong. He’s not a Trans-AM type of guy… he’s a Corvette lover! Check out this official tweet from the Vice President:
The Veep misspoke at an inaugural ball on January 19th. “I’m proud to be president of the United States…” he said. (Freudian slip??) He quickly corrected himself by adding, “But I am prouder to be Barack Obama’s, President Barack Obama’s, vice president.”
Late Night Comedian Jay Leno later joked, “We love Joe Biden. But he made another one of his famous gaffes on camera the other day. He said he was proud to be president of the United States. Guess he forgot he wasn’t at home talking to the bathroom mirror.”
(For the record, we won’t be surprised at all if Joe decides to run in 2016. After all, he’s had the longest audition possible.)
If you believe the polls, Biden’s approval rating is around 48 percent right now. ABC News & Washington Post claim that Hillary Clinton’s approval rating is 67 percent among Democrats and that she is the “clear favorite” for 2016.
But has anyone SEEN her lately? This job at the State Department has run her ragged! She suffered from a concussion and blood clot just this month and left her post to get some R&R. Sure, she may be able to recover by 2016, but she will be 69 years old. Biden will be 74, but you’d never guess it by the way he’s been carrying himself.
Who looks ready to be President?
Just sayin! Besides, does Uncle Joe care what the polls say? Not likely!
No one can give a compliment like the Vice President.
“And everybody knows that if they don’t vote with her, she’ll make their lives miserable. She can exasperate the hell out of everybody and make them feel better for it,” he said at a New Orleans fundraiser for his former senate colleague, Mary Landrieu (D-LA) who is running for re-election in 2014. She’s persistent and tough, the VP said. ”This woman has a way of doing things on the Senate floor that, if anybody else did it, would be exiled,” he added.
Like most Vice Presidential Nominees on losing tickets, “William Lewis Dayton” is no household name. At one time, he was perceived as being a better candidate for the second-highest office in the land than Abraham Lincoln; but today, no one knows his name.
William L. Dayton was born in Baskinridge, New Jersey on February 17th, 1807. Little is known about his early life, but his father, Joel, was a farmer and a man of good standing. William was the eldest son. His brother, Jonathan Dayton, was a U.S. House Speaker and U.S. Constitution signatory. His other brothr, Elias, was a General of Brigade.
William graduated from the College of New Jersey (now known as Princeton) in 1825 and worked as a lawyer in Freehold. He was elected to the state senate in 1835. Interestingly enough, he presided over an area of staunch Democratic leaning, which goes to show his popularity.
In 1837, he was elected to the New Jersey Legislative Council and appointed “Judge Supreme” one year later. He made his way into the U.S. Senate following the death of Samuel L. Southard in 1842 as a member of the Whig Party. Records indicate that the speeches he gave were logical, well-researched and relevant to the times — and he earned great respect from his colleagues. His service ended in 1851 when he lost re-election to prestigious naval commodore Robert F. Stockton who arrived fresh off the conquest of California in the Mexican-American War.
Yet, don’t think Dayton disappeared into obscurity. In 1856, he was selected by the Republican Party as their very first Vice Presidential nominee — over Abraham Lincoln — at the Philadelphia Convention. John C. Frémont and William L. Dayton spoke out against the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act and the expansion of slavery, while James Buchanan and John C. Breckenridge argued that electing such “radicals” would plunge the nation into Civil War.
After losing to the Democrats in the election of 1856, Dayton served as New Jersey Attorney General. In February of 1860, he met President Abraham Lincoln on a train en route to Washington and made a big impression. A year later, he graciously accepted a post as Lincoln’s Minister to France, which he served throughout most of the Civil War until 1864. Even though he didn’t know a lick of France and appeared superfluous much of the time, he was described as “a man of character and ability… but prosaic, timid, and lacking in magnetism.” Perhaps that is why few remember him to this day!
Regardless of his early impressions, Dayton worked well with French-and-English-speaking journalist John Bigelow and together, they ensured that “all was quiet on the French front.” They successfully lobbied the government of Napoleon III to refuse recognition of the Confederacy as a legitimate government and to prevent them from using French ports.
By 1864, he was feeling quite good. He enjoyed a meal of fine French cooking with his wife and sat beside the fire to enjoy a glass of cognac when he received an odd letter from an unknown person that had been delivered to his caretaker’s lodge.
The letter read:
Sir: This is to inform you that your Secretary of Legation, Mr. Pennington, is jeopardizing your prestige and the honor of the United States by his scandalous liaison with the former Sophie Bricard, now known as Mrs. Eccles, a rebel spy. The undersigned knows for a fact that Pennington will be spending this evening alone with this ‘lady’ at her apartment at the Louvre Hotel. This ought to be stopped. It is your duty.
Mr. Dayton had, in fact, noted Mr. Pennington’s propensity to disappear at odd hours, but he presumed it was due to the social nature of his post. The young actress mentioned in the letter was well-known as a woman of ill repute. Imagining the scandal that would ensue and with a strong desire to protect The Union, Dayton took immediate action.
He went to the Louvre Hotel and charged up three flights of stairs. When a colored servant answered the door, Dayton asked to have a word with Mr. Pennington, declining to reveal his identity. At that point, Mrs. Eccles could be heard singing. She was shocked at the sight of Mr. Dayton and said that she was alone. “I beg your pardon,” Dayton reportedly said and then began to sway as if he would fall down. The young lady and her servant helped him into a chair and gave him a glass of brandy. As he recovered, Dayton explained his mission with candor.
Mrs. Eccles confessed that she had invested herself in the Southern Cause because the Yankees in Paris had given her a bad reputation. In fact, abolitionists referred to her as “The Jezebel of the Rebellion.” Yet, she soon found that the Southern gentlemen were “utter flatterers and hypocrites” who took care to avoid her, fearing that this woman of dubious morals would compromise the cause. She revealed to him letters from the consulate — with both Pennington and Bigelow’s signatures — that proved they were aware she had been a confederate spy, now handed over to the union.
According to the servant’s account, the woman opened a bottle of Champagne and the two spoke freely for some time. She began playing the piano and singing a tune from the play Florian, in which she had made her stage debut. Suddenly, Mr. Dayton fell from his chair — red-faced and tense, as though he had just suffered a stroke. The servant ran to fetch the concierge and find a doctor. Then, Mr. Pennington arrived at the scene and was shocked to find Dayton dead on the floor of his mistress’s apartment.
Realizing that a scandal was sure to follow, Mr. Pennington quickly arranged to have Dayton escorted via cab to the Legation of the United States. While it was an egregious offense to move a dead body without consulting the police, all parties involved agreed that it was “for the preservation of The Union” that this be done discreetly and without hesitation.
The next day, the newspaper reported that Mr. Dayton had died of an apoplectic stroke at the Legation. The true story came out years later when Sophie Brichart /”Mrs. Eccles” gave a notice titled, “The True Account of the Death of Minister Dayton” to Judge Walter Berry.
To this day, many questions remain unanswered. Who wrote the letter? Why did William L. Dayton go to the apartment to confront the couple, rather than waiting until the next morning to ask Mr. Pennington about the nature of his relations? Is there more to the story to indicate that Sophie and Mr. Dayton were having relations themselves and she called Mr. Pennington to help dispose of the body, when Mr. Dayton unexpectedly passed away from the exertion? We may never know for sure, but nevertheless, it’s a rather interesting tale from a Vice Presidential candidate who history has nearly forgotten.
We all know about “the White House” and “the Oval Office.” We hear about these places on TV all the time. That is where the President lives and works. But what about the Vice President – where does the second national leader live and what does he do on a daily basis? How much do we really know about the man behind the scenes who spends his energy championing the national executive leader our country? I set out on a journey to learn more about the elusive second leader in chief. Here is what I gathered at the end of the day:
Over the centuries our vice presidents have hosted a number of dignitaries and other influential people in this home with such grace and hospitality that I am sure that they left the VP’s home feeling honored and happy.
One can only imagine the extraordinary beauty of the building while reading about its magnificence. The monetary and emotional expenditure spent on decorating these buildings pay tribute to the importance of the Vice Presidential office and the value of the right arm of the President.
For more information visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/vp-residence
Happy Inauguration Day, everyone!
We’d like to celebrate this day by dishing up savory stories from Vice Presidential history, so enjoy!
John Tyler only held the post of “Vice President” for one month. President William Henry Harrison was known for his loquacious speeches, but audiences questioned his sanity when he insisted on speaking his 8,445 words outdoors during a snowstorm — without an overcoat, scarf, or hat. This ill-fated decision led to a cold — and subsequent pneumonia. William Henry Harrison was the first U.S. President to die in office and the shortest-serving President in history. To date, John Tyler is the shortest-serving Vice President.
Inauguration used to be an easygoing affair — with vice presidents taking the oath in the Senate Chamber among their peers. Nowadays, vice presidents are expected to greet audiences on the west front terrace of the Capitol and give a short speech. During the 1865 inauguration, VP Andrew Johnson was not feeling so well. What better way to get through a tough day than to pound three stiff glasses of whiskey, right? By the time he reached the podium to speak, he was red-faced and rambling incoherently. Finally, he was hauled away by his coattails when it was clear he could not stand up straight, let alone give a meaningful speech — yet not before earning a reputation as “the drunken tailor.”
Sometimes inaugurations take place impromptu. For instance, Andrew Johnson was sworn in at his private residence, Kirkwood House, after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson took his oath of office on Air Force One. Theodore Roosevelt took his oath of office at the Ansley Wilcox House after the assassination of William McKinley.
John Adams served as vice president without a #1 in command for 8 full days! George Washington was delayed by snowy weather and arrived late for the first inauguration. It’s no wonder Adams found his two terms as vice president to be frustrating for a man of his capacity.
The presidential inauguration of Calvin Coolidge (who was Harding’s VP) was the first to be broadcast nationally by radio. Likewise, the presidential inauguration of Harry Truman (FDR’s VP) was the first to be televised. Thomas Jefferson (Adams’ VP) spontaneously initiated the first Inauguration Day Parade. After he took his oath of office, he rode on horseback from the Capitol to the White House. Music played in the background and workers from a nearby naval yard gathered to watch the spectacle.