"You're not going to take it, are you?" — Grace Coolidge to her husband, Calvin, after he was nominated for vice president in 1920.
"I suppose I'll have to." — Calvin Coolidge's reply. He became president upon Warren Harding's death in 1923.
"I do not propose to be buried until I am dead." — Daniel Webster, turning down the vice presidency in 1839.
Being vice president is comparable to "a man in a cataleptic fit; he cannot speak; he cannot move; he suffers no pain; he is perfectly conscious of all that goes on, but has no part in it." — Thomas R. Marshall, vice president under Woodrow Wilson.
"I am vice president. In this I am nothing, but I may be everything." — John Adams, elected vice president 1788 and 1792.
"The second office of this government is honorable and easy, the first is but a splendid misery." — Thomas Jefferson in 1797, when he was vice president.
"I would a great deal rather be anything, say professor of history, than vice president." — Theodore Roosevelt, before becoming William McKinley's vice president and succeeding to the presidency upon McKinley's assassination in 1901.
"The chief embarrassment in discussing the office is that in explaining how little there is to say about it one has evidently said all there is to say." — Woodrow Wilson, when he was a professor.
"I go to funerals. I go to earthquakes." — Nelson Rockefeller, who was frustrated in the vice presidency. He was appointed after Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 and Vice President Gerald R. Ford became president.
"Well, there is always the thought in a fellow's mind that he might get to be president." — House Speaker Sam Rayburn, explaining to John F. Kennedy in 1960 why rival Lyndon Johnson agreed to accept the vice presidential nomination.
"I have no interest in it. Might very well turn it down, indeed, and probably would." — Al Gore, before joining Bill Clinton on the Democratic ticket in 1992.
"The vice president has two duties. One is to inquire daily as to the health of the president, and the other is to attend the funerals of Third World dictators. And neither of those do I find an enjoyable exercise." Presidential candidate John McCain, in 2000, addressing questions about whether he would consider serving as rival candidate George Bush's vice president.
"I never had a boss. I don't know how I'd handle it." Sen. Joseph Biden, asked in July about the possibility that he might be selected to be Barack Obama's running mate.