Study Guide

Bill Miller in 1964 RNC Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech

By Barry Goldwater

Bill Miller

Maybe for some people it's cool to run for Vice President. That's probably less true when one of the slogans about your candidacy is this:

Here's a riddle, it's a killer / Who the hell is William Miller?

As it turns out, plenty of people knew who William Miller was; he was the district attorney for Niagara County in New York before becoming one of the state's Congressman.

He was also extremely conservative and very outspoken, which is probably why he was asked to run with Barry Goldwater.

Politically, they had a lot in common.

But whereas after the campaign, Barry Goldwater continued to be a big name in the political world, Bill Miller pretty much vanished back into the obscurity (outside of New York) from whence he'd come.

In fact, in 1975, Miller did one of the first American Express commercials in a series called, "Do you know me?" The series featured people who had done big things but might not be recognized out on the street. (Others appearing in these commercials included the U.S. Treasurer Francine Neff and novelist Stephen King—how could anyone not recognize him?)

Other than his brief flash in the pan of fame during the 1964 presidential election, Congressman Miller was known mostly for eloquent trash-talking, and for prosecuting Nazi war criminals during the Nuremberg trials. That alone should have made him a little more memorable.

He was apparently also pretty good at gin rummy. And if that isn't enough to keep a person off the list of "Ten Worst Running Mates in Presidential History," well…we just don't know what is.

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