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The White House Vice Presidency: The Path to Significance, Mondale to Biden, Joel K. Goldstein

Reviewed by Nancy Beck Young



Much of the literature on politics in the 1970s suggests a crisis in the presidency. Certainly Watergate played a role, but other external factors combined to leave the presidency in a seemingly diminished capacity, namely, deindustrialization and stagflation. Few scholars had located a positive story of government innovation in the executive branch in the late twentieth century. An exception is Joel K. Goldstein's new book, The White House Vice Presidency. Political scientists and historians alike will need to give serious consideration to this important book.

Goldstein locates substantive changes to the vice presidency during Walter Mondale's term in the office during Jimmy Carter's presidency, changes that became routinized in subsequent administrations. First were shifts in the election process: the presidential candidate took charge of the vice presidential selection, deemphasizing the role of the convention to select and nominate a presidential running mate, and the vice presidential candidate debate became a regular component of the fall campaign. Second, the White House vice presidency meant “the vice president has become part of the president's inner circle and works closely with him to achieve administration objectives. It signifies a set of roles, relationships, and resources now associated with the office that allow vi

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