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Monday, September 1, 2008 - Page updated at 07:05 AM

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Palin not the youngest vice presidential pick

Associated Press writers and editors are answering questions posed by Yahoo! users during the Republican National Convention.

ST. PAUL, Minn. —

Associated Press writers and editors are answering questions posed by Yahoo! users during the Republican National Convention.

QUESTION: Would Sarah Palin, at 44, be the youngest vice president in history?

ANSWER: No. John Breckinridge, a Democrat, was 36 when he was sworn in as James Buchanan's No. 2 in 1857. Other vice presidents also were younger. Republican Richard Nixon had just turned 40 when he became vice president to Dwight Eisenhower in 1953. Dan Quayle was 41 when he assumed the second-highest office in the nation in 1989 under the first President Bush. Democrat Al Gore, 44 when he took the oath as Bill Clinton's vice president in 1993, was younger by more than a month than Palin would be if she's sworn in.

QUESTION: How is the order of the two parties' political conventions determined?

ANSWER: By long tradition, the party that is out of power goes first.

QUESTION: What were the objectives of the combat missions that John McCain flew in Vietnam?

ANSWER: McCain was shot down on his 23rd bombing run over Vietnam, and during his first attack on the enemy capital of Hanoi. His target was the city's thermal power plant. The day before, McCain had bombed and destroyed two enemy MiGs parked at an airfield outside Hanoi. Earlier in his flying career, before President Johnson escalated the war, McCain and other pilots chafed at their restricted target lists. McCain wrote in his book "Faith of My Fathers": "Most of the pilots flying the missions believed that our targets were virtually worthless. We had long believed that our attacks, more often than not limited to trucks, trains and barges, were not just failing to break the enemy's resolve but actually having the opposite effect by boosting Vietnam's confidence that it could withstand the full measure of American airpower."

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