06/16/04 — Politics: Non-story raises some questions

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Politics: Non-story raises some questions

That was an intriguing story provided by The New York Times and given as much as six-column headline prominence by some newspapers this past weekend.

The story quoted unidentified sources as saying that Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry had been asking Republican Sen. John McCain to consider being his running mate. And that McCain has not accepted the entreaties.

Among the intriguing aspects of the story is that McCain repeatedly, and even on network television, has stated flatly that he will not be on the Democratic ticket.

Just last week, McCain responded to a late night show questioner with: “I spent several years in a North Vietnamese prison camp, in the dark, fed with scraps. Do you think I want to do that all over again as vice president of the United States?” His repeatedly expressed lack of interest is such old news it’s a non-story.

The unidentified source said Sen. Kerry had “artfully phrased” his overtures to McCain. Such as: “I don’t want to formally ask you because I don’t want to be formally rejected, but would you do it?”

That’s Kerry all right — the same guy who declared: “I supported this bill before I voted against it.” But the most perplexing thing about the New York Times article was a quote from the unidentified source speculating that “Kerry’s campaign had leaked the story Friday so it would be lost in coverage of Ronald Reagan’s funeral.”

Which must leave readers wondering: If the Kerry campaign wants a story to get lost, why leak it?

Published in Editorials on June 16, 2004 11:58 AM