That picture is from the first debate, not the second one where Bush did much better. If Bush was wired in the first debate, that would explain why he didn’t really seem to pay much attention what Kerry said in the first debate.
The Speaker wouldn’t automatically become the new Vice Prezzy. As the 25th Amendment states, “Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.”
Now, this particular power has been exercised only ONCE. That was on October 10th, 1973 (today is the anniversary of that exercise of power ) when Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned. Nixon nominated Gerald Ford, then Speaker of the House, to replace Agnew. If Nixon had wished, he could have nominated the President Pro Tempore, some governor, a Supreme Court Justice, or even his cute little dog Checkers; Congress just didn’t have to confirm the nominee, so a politically viable candidate was chosen, in this case the Speaker of the House.
Now, if the Speaker of the House ever vacates his office due to resignation, death, line of succession, etc, the House shall vote on a new Speaker, and since this is a rather partisan affair, the House Majority Leader will probably get it (since the majority party will most likely vote unanimously for one guy). President Pro Tempore of the Senate is generally given to the oldest member of the majority party (which I believe is a mistake given the Line of Succession), but the real power rests in the hands of the Senate Majority Leader.
Thats interesting. I was always taught in school that it is a strict chain off command. Why are we taught that it is Prez > VP > Speaker? Why are we not taught that the president picks the new veep? Because Nixon set precedent?
You’re taught a different Line of Succession. If the Prez dies, Veep becomes Prez. But if both the Prez and Veep die before the Veep can be sworn in, then the Speaker becomes Prez. And if those three die before the Speaker can be sworn in, the Prezzy Pro Tempore gets the job. And if those four die, I have no idea. I assume it’s one of the Cabinet memebers.
As for Nixon, he didn’t set any precedent. He just exercised an obscure power that had been given to the office of the President only eight years prior. Now, he might have started a precedent in the sense that all future Veep nominees will be the Speaker of the House, but I doubt that this one case will have set such a precedent for a very rare occurance.
Edit: My bad. I got one fact wrong. After Ford became President due to Nixon’s resignation, he also got to exercise the nominate a Veep power. He chose Governor Rockefeller of New York.