Yes. The Constitutional eligibility requirements for Vice President are exactly the same as the requirements for President. That’s why a term-limited former President (Bill Clinton, for example) could not be elected Vice President.
In the scene you’re referring to, the Vice President is addressed as “Mr. President” because he is in the Senate chamber executing his only Constitutional responsibility — presiding over the Senate. Although the Vice President is President of the Senate, he rarely presides over it unless there is some important reason or if he is needed to break a tie.
There is a president pro tempore of the Senate — generally the longest-serving Senator of the majority party — but the day-to-day duty of presiding over the Senate is usually rotated from Senator-to-Senator. During debate, anyone who is sitting in the chair presiding over Senate activities is addressed as “Mr. President” as part of parliamentary procedure.
I have no hesitation in saying that Calhoun is one of the most base hypocritical and unprincipled villains in the United States…(his) vote in the case of Mr. Van Buren, has displayed a want of every sense of honor, justice or magnanimity.”
Andrew Jackson, on his own Vice President, John C. Calhoun, after Calhoun cast a tie-breaking vote against Jackson’s nomination of Martin Van Buren as Minister to Great Britain
1. No, the President cannot fire the Vice President. The VP has won a national election and has taken a Constitutional oath. He can be impeached by the House and removed from office if convicted by the Senate, but the President can’t just arbitrarily get rid of the VP.
2. Technically, the Vice President is only responsible for presiding over the Senate and casting tie-breaking votes in the Senate. Besides assuming office in the case of a President’s death, incapacitation, resignation, or removal, the Vice President has no other Constitutional duties.
The Vice President does not have to be an integral part of the Administration. Most Vice Presidents throughout our history have had little to no professional relationship with the Presidents that they were elected with. Most VPs were considered to be legislative functionaries rather than members of the team running the Executive branch.
If, for some reason, the next President shut the VP out of their Administration and we only saw that VP presiding over the Senate once in awhile and breaking the rare tie vote now and then, it would seem completely alien to us. But that’s what the traditional role of the Vice President largely was basically until the second half of the 20th Century. A Vice President with an important Executive branch presence and an office in the White House or the OEOB is a surprisingly modern development.
"[Spiro Agnew has] tremendous brain power, great courage, and [an] unparalleled legal mind. He has vigor and imagination and, above all, he acts." — Richard Nixon, explaining why Agnew was qualified to be his Vice President, 1969
"By any criteria he falls short. Energy? He doesn’t work hard. He likes to play golf [instead]. Leadership? [Nixon simply laughs at the idea]. Consistency? He’s all over the place. He’s not [even] really a conservative, you know?" — Richard Nixon, explaining to aide John Ehrlichman why Agnew was not qualified to be President
I now know the difference between a cactus and a caucus — in a cactus, all the pricks are on the outside.
Lyndon B. Johnson, to reporters, after meeting with the Senate’s Democratic Caucus following LBJ’s election as Vice President, January 1961
Jerry, you’re a damn fool to do this.
Betty Ford, to Gerald Ford, on his decision to dump Vice President Nelson Rockefeller from the ticket in 1976 in favor of Bob Dole
It is hard to visualize a situation where there are absolutely no candidates for President, so let’s look at it this way: What would happen if nobody actually won a Presidential election? Let’s say an election was disputed or undecided and we arrived at Inauguration Day without a President-elect or Vice President-elect.
Now, something like this has never happened, and when it comes to Constitutional crises where things aren’t clearly defined there is always some room for surprises. For example, when President William Henry Harrison died a month into his term in 1841, most American political leaders believed that the Vice President, John Tyler, would only be “acting President”. Tyler, however, quickly assumed the office of the Presidency in name, trappings, and all the power that came with it and set the precedent which all future Vice Presidents who assumed office would follow (and which was eventually codified in the Constitution with the 25th Amendment).
So, if no President or Vice President was been elected or qualified for office as of Inauguration Day, the 20th Amendment (ratified in 1933), states that “Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified”.
In other words, it would be up to Congress to decide HOW the President or Vice President should be selected and WHO the President and Vice President would be. Most likely, the House of Representatives would choose the President and the Senate would choose the Vice President. I make that assumption because that’s what would happen if no candidate won an Electoral College majority — the Presidency would be decided by the House and the Vice Presidency would be decided by the Senate.
But two Vice Presidents were non-WASPs: Charles Curtis (Herbert Hoover’s VP) was 1/4th Native American was the first President or Vice President with non-European ancestry and Vice President Biden is the first Roman Catholic VP in history.
The Vice Presidency is unique in that its power and prestige is largely a modern development. Now “modern” is used in different ways for different things. Many historians say that the first “modern” campaign was the 1800 campaign between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Some say that the first “modern” Presidential election was the 1824 contest between John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and William H. Crawford that was decided by the House of Representatives. But when I say that the Vice Presidency’s importance is a largely a “modern” development, I mean within the lifetime of most of the people reading this.
Garret A. Hobart, McKinley’s first Vice President, was probably the first Vice President with any power or responsibility outside of the VP’s Constitutional role as president of the Senate. President McKinley had a lot of respect for Vice President Hobart and they were friends, and Hobart served in a role not too different from that of a present-day White House Chief of Staff. Hobart was an anomaly, though. After he died in office, the VP once again became “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived”, as the first Vice President, John Adams, described it.
To a certain extent, Richard Nixon (as Eisenhower’s VP from 1953-1961) and Lyndon Johnson (as JFK’s VP from 1961-1963) expanded the duties a bit. Nixon was a bit more visible partly because he was a rising young star in the GOP, but also because President Eisenhower, who was the oldest Chief Executive in history upon leaving office, suffered a heart attack, a mild stroke, and serious intestinal problems during his term. LBJ despised the Vice Presidency but he was one of the first VPs regularly invited to Cabinet meetings and was given a highly-visible and important role as chairman of the National Aeronautics and Space Council during the space race with the Soviet Union and participated in the tense deliberations throughout the Cuban Missile Crisis.
It was Walter Mondale (Jimmy Carter’s VP from 1977-1981) who helped mold the Vice Presidency into what we know it as today — an integral member of the President’s Administration with a spot in the Cabinet and National Security Council, and an office in the White House itself. George H.W. Bush (Reagan’s VP from 1981-1989) and Dan Quayle (Bush 41’s VP from 1989-1993) weren’t quite as powerful as Mondale, but still much more involved in the workings of the Executive Branch than most of their Vice Presidential predecessors.
Al Gore (Bill Clinton’s VP from 1993-2001) and Dick Cheney (Bush 43’s VP from 2001-2009) took the Mondale model of the Vice Presidency and, with the blessing of their Presidents, made the position into one of the most powerful posts in the world. Clinton and Gore, both Southerners, close in age, and not too far apart politically, changed the idea that running mates should be different from one another and balance each other out. Once elected, Clinton gave Gore tons of responsibility and power — not quite a co-Presidency, but something more than second fiddle to the Oval Office.
Cheney, of course, was so influential that many people considered him the power behind the throne — a dark force who was the instrument pushing through the most controversial policies of George W. Bush’s Administration. Now, that isn’t quiet correct. It’s clear now that George W. Bush had far more control of his Administration than people gave him credit for and that Cheney’s power and influence was largely neutralized in Bush’s second term as Cheney’s allies were forced out of the Administration and Bush became more confident in his duties.
As for Vice President Biden, he took the role as Barack Obama’s running mate with the promise that he would have the President’s ear. Biden wanted to scale back some of the seemingly limitless power that Cheney supposedly held at the beginning of George W. Bush’s term, but Biden also wanted a real role in the Obama Administration and he has had one. Because of his lengthy experience in the Senate and political connections, and Obama’s relative inexperience, Biden has been called upon time-after-time to close the deal on important legislation from the Affordable Health Care Act to the negotiations over the debt ceiling and economic policy. Biden is the Mariano Rivera of the Obama Administration — a superstar legislative liaison with a unique skill set that most Vice Presidents have lacked. Vice Presidents Mondale, Bush, Quayle, Gore, and Cheney all served in Congress, but none of them had the experience on Capitol Hill that Biden had. And none of them built relationships with Senators and Congressmen like Biden did for nearly 40 years. He has been more than active and influential — Joe Biden has been invaluable to the Obama Administration.
You’re right, it doesn’t matter whether or not President Buchanan was gay, but for the historical record, we’d love to have a definitive answer. Unfortunately, that’s never going to happen. So, we have to use the evidence that we have and make our own personal conclusions.
I’ve answered this question in-depth before, so I’m just going to copy and paste that answer. Since this a question that is asked frequently and a genuine mystery to historians, I, like many other historians, have looked at Buchanan’s life and have a personal opinion on the question. Personally, yes, I do think that James Buchanan was a homosexual. Still, Buchanan has been dead for almost 145 years and contemporary opinions will always be speculation. Here’s what I’ve previously written when asked about President Buchanan’s sexuality:
It is very difficult to say that this President or that President was gay or not without simply guessing or making baseless accusations. My personal opinion is that it’s not our business to say that someone is or is not gay unless they choose to address it and make it our business.
It’s even more difficult to go back through history and say “so-and-so was obviously a homosexual because ___________”. I mean, let’s be honest, the first five Presidents wore knee breeches, buckled shoes, and powdered wigs, so we’d already be overloaded with suspicion right there.
Without going too far and becoming gossipy and National Enquirer-ish, I will point out the evidence which some believe strongly suggests that James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States, was homosexual.
Buchanan was a lifelong bachelor — the only President to never marry. Early in life, he had been engaged to Ann Coleman, the daughter of a wealthy Pennsylvania manufacturer who began worrying about rumors that Buchanan was marrying her for her money. After a difficult period in their relationship, Coleman broke off the engagement in 1819 and died shortly thereafter, likely by suicide. Buchanan was devastated by Coleman’s death and was shunned by Coleman’s family who blamed him for Ann’s demise. At that time, Buchanan vowed to never marry and he retained Ann Coleman’s letters for the remainder of his life.
It is possible that Buchanan was so devastated by the death of his first love that he couldn’t imagine spending his life with another woman. However, that doesn’t explain why he spent so much of his life with another man.
In 19th Century Washington, D.C., it was not unusual for Members of Congress to room together in boarding houses while Congress was in session. Many political deals were debated and decided in Washington’s boarding houses which were set up to appeal to a Congressman’s need for prepared meals and affordable housing. Buchanan, however, was a fairly wealthy man for his age and time period. The affordable housing that resulted from taking on a roommate wasn’t a necessity for Buchanan. It was a choice. And, instead of living with a variety of different colleagues over the years, Buchanan lived with one — Alabama Senator William Rufus DeVane King — for fifteen years.
The close relationship between Buchanan and King raised eyebrows even in their own time. Contemporaries referred to them as “Siamese twins”. Andrew Jackson called Buchanan and King “Aunt Fancy” and “Miss Nancy” respectively. President Polk’s law partner, Aaron Brown, went further, referring to King as “Mr. Buchanan’s wife”. The relationship between Buchanan and King was interrupted from time-to-time by each man’s foreign service (Buchanan as Minister to Russia during Jackson’s Presidency; King as Minister to France during Polk’s).
Unfortunately, the long letters that Buchanan and King wrote to each other throughout their lives are unable to explain their close relationship. After each man’s death, their nieces burned almost all of their correspondence with one another.
There are hints which further the mystery in the few pieces of correspondence between the two men that have survived. In 1844, President Tyler appointed King as the Minister to France and King wrote to Buchanan, “I am selfish enough to hope you will not be able to procure an associate who will cause you to feel no regret at our separation. For myself, I shall feel lonely in the midst of Paris, for here I shall have no Friend with whom I can commune as with my own thoughts.”
With King in Paris, Buchanan wrote an equally curious letter to a female friend of his in Washington, “I am now solitary and alone, having no companion in the house with me. I have gone a-wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them. I feel that it is not good for man to be alone; and should not be astonished to find myself married to some old maid who can nurse me when I am sick, provide good dinners for me when I am well, and not expect from me any very ardent or romantic affection.”
Whether or not Buchanan and King were truly homosexual will likely never be known. This much is true: In 1852, King was elected Vice President and died of tuberculosis in April 1853, 45 days after his inauguration. In 1856, Buchanan was elected President and served one term while his adopted niece, Harriet Lane, performed the duties of official White House hostess.
To this day, Buchanan and King are the only lifelong bachelors to ever serve as President or Vice President.