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Vice Presidential Bios

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Potential VP Bios: Republicans

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The following is a list of potential candidates for the Republican vice presidential nomination, with analysis from senior political editor Vaughn Ververs. It is meant to provide a brief glimpse at the political plusses and minuses of each. It is not meant to be wholly authoritative or comprehensive and candidates are likely to be added or subtracted based on events going forward.

Haley Barbour

  • Governor of Mississippi (2003-present)

  • Chairman of Bush for President Campaign Advisory Committee (2000)

  • Chairman of Republican National Committee (1993-1997)

  • Unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senate (1982)

  • Law degree from University of Mississippi

  • Age 60

  • Married, 2 children

  • Presbyterian (Deacon, First Presbyterian Church of Yazoo City)

Vaughn's View: A popular governor and polished politician, Barbour also has a way with the media and southern charm that makes his attacks on opponents appear gentler than they actually are. Barbour is also an old Washington hand - which combined with his past lobbying work makes him an unlikely pick.

Michael Bloomberg

  • Mayor of New York City (2002-present)

  • Founded financial news service Bloomberg LP in 1981

  • Several positions at Salomon Brothers (1966-1981)

  • Undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University, M.B.A. from Harvard University

  • Age: 66

  • Single (divorced), 2 children

  • Jewish

Vaughn's View: This Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Independent mayor of New York City has become a power broker since deciding against launching a presidential bid of his own. With both presumptive nominees eyeing independent voters as a key to the election, getting Bloomberg on the ticket would certainly demonstrate their ability to attract that support. But would conservatives stand for a socially-liberal mayor of New York being a heartbeat away from the presidency?

Jeb Bush

  • Tenet Healthcare Board of Directors (2007-2008)

  • Governor of Florida (1999-2007)

  • Unsuccessful candidate for governor (1994)

  • Florida Secretary of Commerce (appointed in 1987)

  • Undergraduate degree from University of Texas

  • Age 55

  • Married, 3 children

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: One of the common refrains during the GOP primary season was that if his name were Jeb Smith, he would have been the actual nominee of the party. Two words will probably keep him out of consideration - Bush fatigue. Don't expect McCain to think twice about this one unless he wants his legacy to be helping to anoint the possible 2012 nominee.

Eric Cantor

  • Representative from Virginia (2001-present)

  • Republican House Chief Deputy Whip (2002-present)

  • Virginia state house of delegates (1992-2001)

  • Lawyer in private practice

  • Undergraduate degree from George Washington University, law degree from College of William and Mary, Master's Degree from Columbia University

  • Age 45

  • Married, 3 children

  • Jewish

Vaughn's View: Long a name murmured in conservative circles, Cantor busted out in the VP sweepstakes with news that he has been asked to submit personal information to the McCain campaign. The apparent vetting may be real but it also has the feel of a move to counter the recent speculation Virginia Governor Tim Kaine has received on the Democratic state and a reflection of the closer-than-usual race both parties are bracing for in the Old Dominion.


Charlie Crist

  • Governor of Florida (2006-present)

  • Florida Attorney General (2002-2006)

  • Florida Commissioner of Education (2000-2002)

  • Florida state senator (1992-1998)

  • Undergraduate degree from Florida State University; law degree from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama

  • Age 51

  • Single (Divorced)

  • Methodist

Vaughn's View: A very popular governor of a must-have state for the GOP, Crist's well-timed endorsement may have also been a major factor in getting McCain to the nomination. Crist may be the best choice to lock down a particular state but it's one McCain should win anyway and this pick may not do much to satisfy conservative critics of the Arizona senator.

Chris Cox

  • Chairman of Securities and Exchange Commission (2005-present)

  • Representative from California (1989-2005)

  • Senior associate counsel to President Reagan (1986-1988)

  • Co-founder of Context Corp. (1984-1986)

  • Private practice attorney (1982-1983)

  • Undergraduate degree from University of Southern California, MBA and law degree from Harvard University

  • Age 55

  • Married, 3 children

Vaughn's View: The former congressman and current SEC chairman would be another possible pick with some heft on economic issues but also brings to the table credentials on a wider range of issues established in over two decades in Washington. But it's just that experience and his time inside the halls of power that make him an iffy selection in this year's environment.

Carly Fiorina

  • CEO of Hewlett-Packard (1999-2005)

  • Chairman of the Board of Hewlett-Packard (2000-2005)

  • Named Victory '08 Chairman for the Republican National Committee in March 2008

  • Held senior positions at AT&T and Lucent Technologies

  • Currently serves on several boards of directors, including Revolution Healthcare Group and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing

  • Appointed to the U.S. Space Commission in 2004

  • Undergraduate degree from Stanford University, M.B.A. from University of Maryland, M.S. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Age 54

  • Married, 2 step children

Vaughn's View: This is a pick that could fill two of McCain's biggest needs as one of just two women who also happen to have private sector business experience. The former CEO of Hewlett-Packard has the kind of business experience which would fit well on the ticket and perhaps appeal to disgruntled Clinton voters at the same time. She's also becoming a more visible surrogate for the campaign on television and has proven she can handle that. But does she posses the kind of grasp of a wider range of issues to look presidential?

Rudy Giuliani

  • Former candidate for Republican presidential nomination in 2008

  • Giuliani Partners (2002-present)

  • Mayor of New York City (1994-2001)

  • Unsuccessful candidate for Mayor of New York City (1989)

  • U.S. Attorney (1983-1989)

  • Associate Attorney General (1981-1983)

  • Attorney at Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler (1977-1981)

  • Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States (1975-1977)

  • Office of the U.S. Attorney (1970-1975)

  • Undergraduate degree from Manhattan College, law degree from NYU

  • Age 64

  • Married, 2 children

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: America's Mayor lost some of his shine with his lackluster primary campaign but he still brings a record of real achievement to the table. His "just-get-it-done" approach would add some teeth to McCain's reform image but his well-reported personal foibles and socially liberal stances make him a longshot.

Lindsey Graham

  • Senator from South Carolina (2003-present)

  • Representative from South Carolina (1994-2002)

  • South Carolina House (1993-1994)

  • U.S. Air Force (1982-1988), South Carolina Air National Guard (1989-1995), U.S. Air Force Reserves (1995-present)

  • Undergraduate and law degrees from University of South Carolina

  • Age 52

  • Single

  • Baptist

Vaughn's View: One of McCain's biggest admirers and best friends in the Senate, Graham's loyalty to the ticket would be beyond doubt. But the South Carolinian is already one of the most visible surrogates on the campaign trail and putting him on the ticket might look a little too much like cloning the nominee.

Mike Huckabee

  • Former candidate for Republican presidential nomination in 2008

  • Governor of Arkansas (1996-2007)

  • Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas (1993-1996)

  • Baptist minister (1980-1992)

  • Undergraduate degree from Ouachita Baptist University, Attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (dropped out after one year)

  • Age 52

  • Married, 3 children

  • Southern Baptist

Vaughn's View: The surprise of the 2008 primaries, Huckabee won more states and delegates than anyone but McCain. An ordained Baptist preacher, the former Arkansas governor could help generate excitement among evangelical voters who make up a key part of the GOP. But what worked for him in the primary campaign - media accessibility and off-the-cuff remarks - aren't a plus in a vice presidential candidate whose every utterance will be recorded and re-hashed.

Jon Huntsman

  • Governor of Utah (2005-present)

  • Vice Chair of the Western Governors Association

  • Has held various government appointments, including Deputy United States Trade Representative and Ambassador

  • Son of billionaire Jon Huntsman Sr., who founded chemical company Huntsman Corp.

  • Undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania

  • Age 48

  • Married, 7 children

  • Mormon

Vaughn's View: The governor of Utah could help McCain hold court in Western states like Nevada, New Mexico and Utah but that's a pretty weak limb on which to hang such a big decision. And Mitt Romney, a fellow Mormon, could help just as much and brings much more to the table.

Kay Bailey Hutchison

  • Senator from Texas (1993-present)

  • Texas State Treasurer (1990-1993)

  • Unsuccessful candidate for House (1982)

  • Vice-chairman of the NTSB (1976-1978)

  • Texas state representative (1972-1976)

  • Undergraduate and law degrees from University of Texas-Age 64

  • Married, 2 adopted children, 2 step children

  • Episcopalian

Vaughn's View: The conservative Texas senator would be a solid choice if McCain wants to make an appeal to women voters unhappy with Hillary Clinton's primary loss. But she would not help the ticket shed the inside-the-beltway image and the state should be the least of the party's worries this fall.

Bobby Jindal

  • Governor of Louisiana (2008-present)

  • Representative from Louisiana (2005-2008)

  • Unsuccessful candidate for governor or Louisiana (2003)

  • Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation of Health and Human Services (2001-2003)

  • President of the University of Louisiana System (1999-2001)

  • Executive director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare (1998-1999)

  • Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (1996-1998)

  • Consultant for McKinsey & Company (1994-1995)

  • Undergraduate degree from Brown University, Rhodes Scholar, graduate degree from Oxford University

  • Age 37

  • Married, 3 children

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: If McCain is looking for a youthful running mate to counter the age question, Jindal would certainly fit the bill. At 36, the Louisiana governor has already accumulated a lengthy list of accomplishments on complex issues like health care and education and his social conservatism make him a favorite of those on the right. His heritage (his parents emigrated from India) also make him a fresh face in the party. But he may be too young to be seen as a president-in-waiting and it's unclear he would help anywhere geographically.

Joe Lieberman

  • Senator from Connecticut (1989-Present)

  • Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000 as Al Gore's running mate

  • Candidate in primaries for Democratic presidential nomination in 2004

  • Lost 2006 Democratic Senate primary in Connecticut, but then ran as an Independent and won the general election; now considers himself an "Independent Democrat" and caucuses with Democrats in the Senate

  • Current Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

  • Former Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council

  • Attorney General of Connecticut (1983-1989), also served in state senate

  • Undergraduate and law degrees from Yale University

  • Age 66

  • Married, 4 children

  • Jewish

Vaughn's View: Running mates on losing tickets generally don't get another shot and they never get it with the other party. But the 2000 Democratic running mate of Al Gore, who became an independent in 2006, has become one of McCain's best friends and biggest defenders. He could be a living example of McCain's cross-party appeal and help exploit concerns about Obama among Jewish voters. But there's a long-shot aspect to it that has an air of desperation about it.

Sarah Palin

  • Governor of Alaska (2006-present)

  • Former Mayor of Wasilla

  • Former Wasilla City Council

  • Undergraduate degree from University of Idaho

  • Age 44

  • Married, 5 children

  • Protestant

Vaughn's View: One of the most popular governors in America, Palin would be an intriguing choice if McCain is looking for someone to break the mold. She defeated her own party's sitting governor, had crusaded against government corruption in a state infested with it and has carved out a fiercely independent attitude. But her relative lack of experience is a drawback and what works in Alaska doesn't necessarily translate to the national stage.

David Petraeus

  • Commander of the Multi-National Force in Iraq (2007-present)

  • Commander of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth Kansas (2005-2007)

  • Commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command in Iraq (2004-2005)

  • M.P.A. and Ph.D. in international relations from Princeton, fellowship at Georgetown

  • Degree from the U.S. Military Academy, top graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff

  • Age 55

  • Married, 2 children

Vaughn's View: McCain couldn't get away from his staunch support for the Iraq War even if he wanted to, so why not tap the man responsible for the "surge" strategy, one of the few bright spots of the war? But despite his public admiration for the general, McCain probably doesn't need yet another reminder of the war as his running mate.

Tim Pawlenty

  • Governor of Minnesota (2002-present)

  • Member of Minnesota House of Representatives (1992-2002)

  • Undergraduate and law degree from the University of Minnesota

  • Born to a truck driver and housewife

  • Married, 2 children

  • Age 47

  • Baptist

Vaughn's View: A Washington outsider with executive experience and leader of a state McCain would love to add to the GOP column in November. Pawlenty represents the kind of fresh face McCain would like to put on the party. But he's relatively unknown on the national stage and hasn't gone through the kind of media vetting other hopefuls have.

Rob Portman

  • Attorney in the Cincinnati office of the firm Squire, Sanders & Dempsey

  • Director of the Office of Management and Budget (2006-2007)

  • U.S. Trade Representative (2005-2006)

  • Representative from Ohio (1993-2005)

  • Attorney (1984-1993)

  • Undergraduate degree from Dartmouth, law degree from University of Michigan

  • Age 52

  • Married, 3 children

  • Methodist

Vaughn's View: He's a former congressman from the key state of Ohio and he's a darling of fiscal conservatives, filling two needs for McCain. But despite the policy chops, Portman is virtually unknown nationally, or even in the home state he's been away from for some time. And how he would fit in with a charismatic nominee could be a mystery.

Condoleezza Rice

  • Secretary of State (2005-present)

  • National Security Advisor (2001-2005)

  • Stanford University's Provost, (1993- 1999)

  • Professor of political science at Stanford University

  • Positions within the National Security Council (1989-1991)

  • Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1987)

  • Undergraduate degree from University of Denver, Masters degree from University of Notre Dame and Ph.D. from University of Denver

  • Age 53

  • Single

  • Presbyterian

Vaughn's View: While she's pretty definitively ruled the number two spot out publicly, Rice will certainly remain someone who's talked about by virtue of her high profile in the administration for the past eight years. Her role in the Iraq War, especially in selling it, probably would make her an unlikely choice even if she were willing. But look for her name to pop up in conversation anyway.

Tom Ridge

  • Secretary of Homeland Security (2003-2005)

  • Assistant to the President for Homeland Security (2001-2003)

  • Governor of Pennsylvania (1995-2001)

  • Representative from Pennsylvania (1983-1995)

  • Undergraduate degree from Harvard University, law degree from Dickinson School of Law

  • Age 62

  • Married, 2 children

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: The former Pennsylvania governor brings a hefty resume and a key state into play and his stint as the first Secretary of Homeland Security fits nicely with McCain's foreign policy strengths. Ridge has been considered a contender for GOP nominees in the past but his pro-choice leanings have been one of the reasons he's not made the cut. Does it keep him off the ticket again in 2008?

Mitt Romney

  • Former candidate for Republican presidential nomination (2008)

  • Governor of Massachusetts (2003-2007)

  • President and CEO of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games (1998-2002)

  • Unsuccessful candidate for Senate from Massachusetts (1994)

  • Bain & Company consultant from 1978-1984, founded Bain Capital in 1984, returned to Bain & Company as CEO in 1990-1998

  • Undergraduate degree from BYU, joint J.D./M.B.A. from Harvard

  • Age 61

  • Married, 5 children, 11 grandchildren

  • Mormon

Vaughn's View: Romney brings an indefatigable energy to the table as well as real-life economic experience to fill a perceived gap in McCain's resume -- and he earned respect among conservatives. He may also put Michigan into play. But the two clashed personally on the campaign trail during the primaries and Romney failed to capitalize on a relatively weak field despite a big financial edge.

Mark Sanford

  • Governor of South Carolina (2003-present)

  • U.S. Representative from South Carolina (1995-2001)

  • Was a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force Reserves

  • Undergraduate degree from Furman University, M.B.A. from University of Virginia

  • Age 48

  • Married, 4 children

  • Episcopalian

Vaughn's View: Sanford brings a budget-cutting passion he shares with John McCain and he'd be an addition that would be welcomed by most conservatives. He also has executive experience and from most indications gets along well with McCain. But coming from one of the most reliable Republican states in the country, there are other picks who accomplish what Sanford does while bringing a little more with them.

John Thune

  • Senator from South Dakota (2005-present)

  • Unsuccessful candidate for Senate from South Dakota (2002)

  • Representative from South Dakota (1997-2003)

  • Director of the South Dakota municipal league (1993-1996)

  • Director of the South Dakota railroad division (1991-1993)

  • Executive Director of South Dakota Republican Party (1989-1991)

  • Staff member for Senator James Abdnor (1985-1986)

  • Undergraduate degree from Biola University, M.B.A. from University of South Dakota

  • Age 47

  • Married, 2 children

  • Evangelical Christian

Vaughn's View: If Hollywood directed this storyline, Thune would be at the top of the list. A solid conservative who's young but not too young, he hits all the political marks and rarely makes a mistake. Thune would be a solid, relatively safe pick but this might not be the year to play it safe and it's hard to see where the South Dakota senator helps McCain gain in the Electoral College.

J.C. Watts

  • Chairman of J.C. Watts Companies

  • Representative from Oklahoma (1995-2003)

  • Oklahoma Corporation Commission (1990-1995)

  • Associate Baptist pastor (1987-1994)

  • Professional football player in the Canadian Football League (1981-1986)

  • Undergraduate degree from University of Oklahoma (played quarterback)

  • Age 50

  • Single

  • Baptist

Vaughn's View: The former Oklahoma congressman hasn't popped up on many serious short lists but as one of the few longtime examples of black leaders in the GOP, he's got to be on any expanded one. His time out of office helps him avoid the stain of the insiders but it's also removed him from the public eye.

Meg Whitman

  • President and CEO of eBay (1998- March 2008)

  • Named co-chair of McCain's campaign in March 2008, formerly supported Mitt Romney's campaign

  • Former CEO of Florists Transworld Delivery (FTD)

  • Also served as an executive at Hasbro, Stride Rite Corporation, Walt Disney Company and Bain & Company

  • Serves on board of eBay Foundation, Procter & Gamble and DreamWorks Animation

  • Undergraduate degree from Princeton University, M.B.A. from Harvard University

  • Age 51

  • Married, 2 children

Vaughn's View: One of the only two people on the list who could fill two unique needs for McCain is this former CEO of E-Bay. Whitman differs somewhat from Carly Fiorino in that she represents the new economy but she also hasn't been under the hot spotlight of the political media. Can McCain afford to take a chance?
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