The National Commission on Choosing and Using Vice Presidents

The National Commission on Choosing and Using Vice Presidents

Growing recognition of the importance of the vice presidency led the Miller Center to organize a commission examining the criteria and qualifications for the selection of a vice president. The Commission recommended three criteria for the selection of the vice presidency: (1) The vice presidential nominee should be of presidential caliber, given the strong likelihood of succession. (2) The nominees for president and vice president should be compatible to assure full partnership in office and continuity of philosophy and world view, should succession occur, and (3) attention should continue to be given to the political support a vice presidential nominee is expected to bring to a presidential ticket.


  • Charles McC. Mathias, U.S. Senator (R-Md.), 1968–1986
  • Edmund S. Muskie, U.S. Senator (D-Maine), 1959–1980; U.S. Secretary of State, 1980–1981


  • R.W. Apple, Jr., Chief Washington Correspondent, New York Times
  • Robert S. Bergland, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, 1977–1981
  • M. Caldwell Butler, Member, U.S. House of Representatives (R-Va.), 1972–1983
  • William T. Coleman, Jr., U.S. Secretary of Transportation, 1975–1977; Senior Counselor, O'Melveny & Myers
  • Lloyd N. Cutler, White House Counsel, 1977–1981, 1994; Partner, Wilmer Cutler & Pickering
  • Stuart E. Eizenstat, Assistant for Domestic Affairs and Foreign Policy and Executive Director of the Domestic Policy Staff, 1977–1981; Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, 1997–1999; Partner, Covington & Burling
  • Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., Chairman, Republican National Committee, 1983-1988; President & CEO, American Gaming Association
  • Judith Richards Hope, Vice Chairman of the President's Commission on Organized Crime, 1983–1986; Partner and Senior Advisor, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker
  • Max M. Kampelman, Counselor to the U.S. Department of State, 1987–1988; Of Counsel, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson
  • Melvin R. Laird, U.S. Secretary of Defense, 1969–1973; Counselor to the President for Domestic Affairs, 1973–1974; Senior Counselor for National and International Affairs, Reader's Digest Foundation
  • Richard Moe, Chief of Staff to Vice President Walter F. Mondale, 1977–1981; President, National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • John J. Rhodes, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (R-Ariz.), 1943–1982; House Minority Leader, 1973–1981
  • Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, 1975–1977, 2001-2006
  • Robert S. Strauss, U.S. Trade Representative, 1977–1979; U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union & Russian Federation, 1991; Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Commission Director: Kenneth W. Thompson, Director of the Miller Center, 1978–1998