Veepstakes suspense, the final hours


Geraldine Sealey
July 6, 2004 3:34PM (UTC)

John Kerry's campaign has said it wants its method for choosing a running mate to give America a glimpse into how Kerry would govern. Kerry has been methodical, disciplined, and reportedly "obsessed" with telling those he's rejecting himself, not letting them hear the news from the media as he did four years ago when Al Gore chose Joe Lieberman. Despite the veepstakes-obsessed reporters trailing Kerry and the most likely candidates to get the nod, including John Edwards, Dick Gephardt and Tom Vilsack -- the Kerry team has managed to keep the news under wraps, leaving many reporters and eager supporters hitting refresh on their email inboxes and the John Kerry homepage waiting for an announcement. Kerry is -- pending any last minute changes at the whims of the candidate -- unveiling his choice in an orderly, elaborate scheme: He's making calls to those on his short list starting at around 7 a.m. ET, then he'll send out an email announcement to supporters letting them in on the selection (apparently 150,000 people signed up for Kerry's email list since he said he'd use it for the V.P. announcement last Friday), then he'll talk at a 9 am. rally in Pittsburgh, the speculation is without the lucky veepstakes winner, who will join Kerry later in the day. It may seeem odd for Kerry to reveal his running mate at an event without his choice at his side, but if that's the way it goes down, it shows just how passionate he feels about the pesky press not mucking up his process with early leaks. Getting the running mate to Pittsburgh in time for a 9 a.m. rally without the press noticing just may be too difficult.

So, who will it be? The New York Times reports that Kerry aides have reportedly printed signs for three scenarios: Kerry-Edwards, Kerry-Gephardt, Kerry-Vilsack. Of course, those signs could just be decoys, and a surprise running mate could still happen. But the last-minute speculation is focusing on John Edwards. He interrupted his Disney World vacation last Thursday night to meet Kerry in Washington at a meeting in Madeleine Albright's house that was secret until reporters revealed the details yesterday, but the Kerry campaign downplayed the significance by saying Kerry had met with all of the upper tier hopefuls in secret. Other names mentioned as possible running mates for Kerry are senators Evan Bayh of Indiana, Joseph Biden of Delaware (who told reporters yesterday he highly doubted he was the choice)and Bob Graham of Florida. Gen. Wesley Clark and former Defense Secretary William Cohen have also been the sources of speculation. But some Democrats are still hoping for a marquee surprise choice, like Hillary Clinton. Soon enough, we'll all know.

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Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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