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Hoosier State "The Mother of Vice Presidents"

Last updated on Thursday, July 5, 2012

(UNDATED) - With his appointment as president of Purdue, Mitch Daniels is out of the running for vice president — but there was a time when Hoosier candidates were automatic favorites for the national ticket.

From 1868 to 1916, Indiana became known as "The Mother of Vice Presidents." In 10 of those 13 elections, either the Republicans or the Democrats put a Hoosier on the ticket.

Indiana University historian Jim Madison explains that in the years after the Civil War, Indiana was not only a swing state, but one of the few states that wasn't solidly Republican or Democratic. Six Hoosiers won their races, including the only one at the top of the ticket: Benjamin Harrison, the only Indiana-born president.

But Madison says none of the vice-presidential candidates left much of a mark. Teddy Roosevelt's vice president Charles Fairbanks was still enough of a political force to be nominated for vice president a second time in 1916; the ticket lost to Woodrow Wilson and his own Hoosier vice president, former Indiana Governor Thomas Marshall.

Marshall may be better known, thanks to his reputation as a wit -- especially his most-quoted one-liner, "What this country needs is a good five-cent cigar."

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