Newsweek had a very special lunch today with former presidential candidate, senator, and Law and Order actor Fred Thompson. The topic of the day? Sarah Palin, the soon to be Vice Presidential nominee. Andrew Romano writes up the conversation:
McCain has always said that his VP must be able to assume the Oval Office at a moment’s notice, we reminded him. Is Palin ready? At this, Thompson groaned. “Ahhhh,” he said, pausing for a moment before finding his footing. “Yes, I do. Look, remember what the standard is. Go back and look at vice-presidential picks throughout the history of the country. Look at Harry Truman, where he stood, how much experience he had before he was chosen as vice president.” Given that Thompson was the third Republican to mention Truman since I arrived this morning, I suspect we’ll hear more about the Missourian—who went from county commissioner in 1935 to leader of the free world in 1945—before November.
Well, ok. But maybe a journalist could point out to Thompson or other Republicans taking this talking point for a test drive that Truman spent ten years (count ‘em: 1935-1945) in the Senate before becoming FDR’s vice president. Yes, he hadn’t been VP long (only a good three months) before Roosevelt’s death, but ten years in the Senate is a good deal different than the under two years as governor that Palin brings to the position. And given how little time Truman had in the second seat before being called into the Oval Office, it’s a historical precedent that the Republicans might want to think twice about offering up this year.