It’s running mate courting season, and everyone who has ever stood near Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump at one point in their lives is being asked if they would accept the thankless job, once described by someone who held the title as "not worth a bucket of warm piss," if offered. Since there are many chances for politicians to give complicated answers to simple yes-or-no questions in every election cycle, we’ve been seeing many ways of addressing veep gossip. Here’s a brief guide to all the ways people have found to say yes, no, maybe, and why are you asking me this?
The Novel, Trump-inspired "Hell No"
Back in the 19th century, General William Tecumseh Sherman definitively said, "I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected" when people started whispering about his hypothetical presidential ambitions. Attempting to close the door on all electoral gossip is thus called a "Shermanesque" statement -- which is basically how most of Trump’s former opponents have responded to the idea of running a campaign with him.
Florida senator Marco Rubio (Republican): "He will be best served by a running mate and by surrogates who fully embrace his campaign. As such, I have never sought, will not seek and do not want to be considered for Vice President."
South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham (Republican): "That’s like buying a ticket on the Titanic."
Jeb Bush (Republican): "No."
Ohio governor John Kasich (Republican): "Zero chance."
(FTR, Donald Trump is not impressed by all these people saying “no thanks” to the idea of running with him. The presumptive nominee tweeted, "It is only the people that were never asked to be VP that tell the press that they will not take the position.")
The "Not Interested, Not No"
The most dependable answer for cautious vice-presidential hopefuls and hope-nots. This answer means absolutely nothing, and can be used by people who do want to be considered, those who don’t, and those who have no idea what they want. This answer has the added benefit of ensuring that you remain on that election cycle’s vice-presidential short list forever.
New Mexico governor Susana Martinez (Republican): "The governor has said repeatedly over the years that she isn’t interested in serving as vice-president."
Ohio senator Rob Portman (Republican): "Rob is not interested in anything but continuing to serve Ohio in the U.S. Senate."
The "I Know What You're Doing"
They know reporters are going to keep asking this question until the mystery is solved. That doesn’t mean they have to like coming up with new, noncommittal answers over and over again.
Ohio senator Sherrod Brown (Democratic): "I love this job. I'm just not going to give you a different answer. You can keep trying."
The "I Am Just So Crazy Busy That I Definitely Don’t Have Time to Be VP"
This answer is the equivalent of a crush saying they have plans every time you ask them out.
South Carolina governor Nikki Haley (Republican): "My plate is full."
New Jersey governor Chris Christie (Republican): "All I can tell you is that my intention is that I'm going to serve the rest of my term as governor until January 16, 2018, and then return to the private sector."
Wisconsin governor Scott Walker (Republican): "But I'm focused on being the governor of the state of Wisconsin. ... That's not even on my radar and it certainly wouldn't be with — I guess I was shocked more than anything to hear that."
The "Never Say Never"
This is the "Hermione raising her hand with every fiber of her being" GIF of answers.
Rick Perry (Republican): "I will be open to any way I can help. I’m not going to say no."
The "Look Over There!"
"Uh, uh, but what about those politicians over there? Wouldn’t they be a better choice than me? OK, bye!"
Former Arizona governor Jan Brewer (Republican): "Of course, I would be! I would be willing to serve in any capacity that I could be of help with Donald on. But that's a tremendous list of people to choose from. They're all very wonderful people, well-qualified."
The "But I Have the Greatest Job in the Universe Right Now!"
Another trusty nonanswer that reassures your current constituents that you aren’t daydreaming about leaving them. About 30 percent of people who use this response probably love their job.
Florida governor Rick Scott (Republican): "I like my job. I worked hard to get this job. I’m going to stay in this job."
Virginia senator Tim Kaine (Democratic): "You know, I really love my job. I really do."
Labor Secretary Tom Perez (Democratic): "I have one focus right now and that is my day job, and I love my day job."
Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren (Democratic): "I love my job. I'm here in the United States Senate doing exactly what the people of Massachusetts sent me here to do."
South Dakota senator John Thune (Republican): "I’ve got a job I like."
The "You Know More Than I Do"
OK, sure, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton has probably not called these people about being vice-president. But they’ve all heard their names get floated as possibilities. Everyone who deploys this answer has spent at least five minutes thinking about being vice-president.
Iowa senator Joni Ernst (Republican): "No one has reached out, so it's a hypothetical right now. But I'm excited about focusing on what's important to Iowans.
Secretary of Housing and Human Development: Julian Castro: "I am not ... I haven't heard from anyone."
Tennessee senator Bob Corker (Republican): "I just have no reason to believe I’m being considered for that."
The "I Am Bored, Yes Please"
Newt Gingrich has probably been trying on aviators in case he gets picked to be Joe Biden’s potential replacement.
Newt Gingrich (Republican): "Why would I want to say ‘no' to the circus? I like circuses."