In the book Veeps, by Bill Kelter and Wayne Shellabarger, there is the fascinating story of Alben Barkley. Barkley, from Kentucky, already had an illustrious career in politics before being tapped to be Harry Truman's running mate in 1948. Most had written off Truman's chances of winning; but Barkley was getting up in years, was trusted as the senate minority leader, so he agreed. The Truman-Barkley ticket ended up winning against all odds.

After failing to get the presidential nomination himself, Barkley embarked on a career that included his own TV show and making speeches. During a speech at Washington and Lee University, Barkley said, "I'm glad to sit on the back row, for I would rather be a servant in the House of the Lord than to sit in the seat of the mighty." While still at the rostrum, he suffered a fatal heart attack.