NYT: Palin Was Right

Posted: Oct 27, 2008 9:11 AM

Time for an apology on Hardball tonight.

Chris Matthews arrogantly lectured McCain Adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer on his show over Sarah Palin's description of the vice president's job and now the NYT says Palin was right all along.

Palin said VP is "in charge of the United States Senate. If they want to, they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that make life better." That statement prompted a tirade from Matthews.

"Here's Sarah Palin with her definition of this role, which sounds strange to me. I have been in this city for a long time and never heard anybody say -- it's similar to what she said in the debate with Joe Biden. Where does she get her civics?" Matthews asked.

Pfotenhauer said, "the role of the Vice President is to support the President, but also to preside when necessary over the Senate."

"Either she's right about the role of the Vice President or I'm wrong," Matthews said. "I would say the role of the vice presidency is limited to breaking ties in the U.S. Senate. It has nothing to do with policy making or Senate leadership on either side of the aisle. There is no policy role for the Vice President. If you even watched "John Adams" on television a few months ago, you would know that going into the beginning."

The NYT says Matthews was wrong. They, apparently, read the Constitution.

The presidential campaign has taken a detour into a dispute over the constitutional status of the vice presidency. It all started when Sarah Palin asserted in her debate with Joe Biden that the vice president should play an important role in the legislative branch.

Ms. Palin has been roundly mocked for her claim. But she was probably right.

Article I of the Constitution, which describes the authority of the legislative branch, says that “the vice president of the United States shall be president of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.” Aside from the job of replacing a president who dies or is unable to serve, the only vice presidential duties that are spelled out in the Constitution are legislative in character.