The Veepstakes: Bringing All One's Journalistic Tools to Bear

Around Washington, playing the Veepstakes guessing game is legalized gambling. Everyone has something riding on it, and everyone has their own pet system -- it's all, "someone to carry the South" this, "swing state" that, or "anyone with a pulse should do." Rarely does someone bring real science to the table, like John Mercurio did on "Inside Politics" yesterday:

    MERCURIO: We did a Nexis search and John Kerry -- I'm sorry, John McCain is the far and away front-runner in the Nexis hits.

You hear that? They did a Nexis search. You can't argue with that kind of science. Maybe if you had some goat entrails or something. I mean, it's not like he just did Google search.

Well, OK, it is like he just did a Google search.

(Full transcript of Mercurio's exclusive analysis follows.)


MERCURIO: There is definitely a lot of buzz. We did a Nexis search and John Kerry -- I'm sorry, John McCain is the far and away front-runner in the Nexis hits.

WOODRUFF: This is just over the last week, right?

MERCURIO: This is just over the last week. This won't necessarily tell us who Kerry's going to choose, but it does give us a good read on who's generating the most buzz in the media. We typed in these candidates' names, we typed in the words John Kerry and the words vice president. We found out, as you just showed was that John McCain is a far away front-runner with 76 articles that include those words, John Edwards far distant second with 56 hits, Tom Vilsack, Iowa governor and Bill Richardson the Mexico governor tied for third with 27 and Dick Gephardt

fifth with 23.

WOODRUFF: And very quickly though. There are some real names we presume under consideration even thoughthey don't come up on Nexis.

MERCURIO: There's two other names I want to mention really quickly. Bob Graham, sources of mine confirmed that he has been contacted by the Kerry campaign as a potential candidate and Mark Warner, the governor of Virginia. He only got 11 hits on the Nexis search we put together. You haven't heard as much about him over the past couple of weeks. Democrats, though, tell me that once he finishes the budget morass (ph) that's going on with him and Richmond (ph) over the next couple of days, his name, I think, in this vice presidential search will start to rise.

WOODRUFF: You heard it here.

MERCURIO: You heard it here first.

WOODRUFF: John Mercurio, CNN's political editor. Ticket talk. Thank you, John. I appreciate it.


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