Thursday Throwback: What was the point of the Veepstakes chase?


NBC has an article about the efforts of various news organizations to find out who Mitt Romney’s running mate would be before he announced that it was going to be Paul Ryan. They also described Paul Ryan’s efforts to mislead news organizations.

Moe, now accompanied by an NBC satellite truck and crew, was still at the Wisconsin congressman’s house. She’d spoken to Ryan earlier that day and accompanied him home from a memorial service for victims of the Sikh temple shooting in his district. Arriving home at around 2:00 pm ET, Ryan had sheepishly admitted that he’d forgotten his keys and trekked into the backyard to dig around for a spare.

That was the last time anyone in the press saw the Wisconsin congressman until he appeared in Norfolk as a vice presidential nominee.

Because after a week of smoke and mirrors to keep secret the most-sought-after answer in American politics, he did just about the simplest thing in the world.

Paul Ryan walked casually into his backyard — and kept walking. Out of reporters’ sight, navigating through a familiar forest, he emerged to a car waiting to take him to the airport.

And then to Norfolk.

And it’s a showcase of one of the problems with the news media: the race to get information that will be available to everyone soon enough.

The rush to be the first to report these details has sometimes resulted in catastrophic mistakes. The New York Post reported that Dick Gephardt would be announced as John Kerry’s running mate in 2004. NPR and several other news organizations reported that Gabriel Giffords had been killed in the Tuscon shooting, neither of which happened.

Romney wasn’t going to keep his running mate secret. He was not going to announce that his choice for Vice-President was going to be Candidate X, an individual he assures the nation meets the constitutional requirements, whose identity will be revealed to the public after the election. For the media, it was a lot of effort to be the first to report something that was guaranteed to be public knowledge rather quickly.

About Thomas Mets

I’m a comic book fan, wannabe writer, politics buff and New Yorker. I don’t actually follow baseball. In the Estonian language, “Mets” simply means forest, or lousy sports team. You can email me at
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