Veepstakes suspense quite the drama


Geraldine Sealey
July 2, 2004 6:54PM (UTC)

It's almost as entertaining watching campaign reporters try to guess who John Kerry's running mate will be as it is trying to guess ourselves. NBC News' political unit's First Read posted this update from the trail, which describes frantic "freaked out" staffers trying to translate stalled planes and varied schedule language into veepstakes clues. There is apparently even joking speculation among campaign reporters that Kerry's oddly frequent dentist appointments recently are really Uncle Junior-like fronts for meetings with potential running mates. (Sopranos joke). Put these people out of their misery already and make the announcement.

"Such is the furious and frenzied nature of veepstakes, with which the Kerry press corps is now fully obsessed, that every move and shred of information put forth by the campaign is scrutinized for potential significance."

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"Like the departure of Teresa Heinz Kerry's (ketchup) red and white Gulfstream from Reagan airport this morning. MSNBC's Felix Schein, who watched the plane taxi off, says it's unclear who's on it or where it's going. At this writing, Schein and the rest of the Kerry press corps are sitting on the charter while Kerry's still at home, 'running late.'"

"And consider the schedule for next week that Kerry aides sent around yesterday. To the casual observer, it may look like any other schedule. But to the Kerry-trained eye, it appears different from most schedules the campaign has sent out to date -- starting with the fact that they rarely send out such details this far in advance. This schedule lists events and locations, though no times. (Note the new theme of 'restoring America's values to the White House,' pushing the values button and using a Bush theme from 2000). Then there's the arguably squishy-looking Wednesday of stops in Ohio and Wisconsin with no identified audiences..."

"As one of our Kerry campaign reporters said of the schedule, 'It's so different, it freaked me out.'"

" ... MSNBC's Schein passes on the press corps joke that, given the frequency of Kerry's visits to the dentist these past few months, we might as well place the dentist on the short list as well. But, Schein says, there is something odd about a man who seems to have perfect teeth needing to visit the dentist three times (by Schein's count) over the course of four weeks, leading some reporters to speculate that, like a scene from the Sopranos, Kerry is using the dentists office for meetings with potential running mates. Schein also notes Kerry's plane was two hours late leaving Pittsburgh yesterday, with all the press on it, and says the Kerry campaign has not yet given a reason why."


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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