Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life

Contenders: The ‘Veep’


Alben Barkley, aka ‘The Veep’

Today on the Radio Diaries Podcast, we bring you the third and final installment of our series, Contenders: Portraits of some of America’s Most Original Presidential Candidates Who Never Won the White House. 

Harry S. Truman once wrote that the President of the United States is a “glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway.”

And yet, it’s a job that people spend millions of dollars trying to get.

Alben Barkley certainly wanted the job. He was in Congress for 40 years, but Barkley never made it to the pinnacle of power. He got close – he was our country’s 35th Vice President, serving under Harry S. Truman.

Throughout American history, only 14 VPs have ever gone on to the presidency. The rest have been mostly forgotten. And not many people would remember the name Alben Barkley, except for two things: his nickname, the “Veep,” and the remarkable circumstances of his death.

 Click here to subscribe to the Radio Diaries Podcast. You can hear Part 1 of Contenders:”Before Hillary: Women who Fought for the White House,” and Part 2: “Say It Like You Mean It.”

Radio Diaries is part of Radiotopia from PRX, a podcast network with 14 great shows.

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