According to a Kerry campaign source, Sen. John Edwards, Rep. Dick Gephardt, Gov. Tom Vilsack, Gen. Wesley Clark, and “a surprise candidate” were each contacted on Wednesday and told to be prepared for an announcement with Kerry as early as July 6. Each short-lister provided the campaign with updated contact and travel information for the July 4 weekend and afterward.
“It’s accelerated. It all began happening on Wednesday,” says the campaign source. “For the past week we’ve been told there was no decision, then all of sudden, this. We’ve been sifting through some cruddy poll numbers, so maybe that has something to do with it.”
Cruddy indeed. New polling from a number of sources, including internal polling, has Kerry struggling and even lagging in a race that by all rights he should be leading by low double digits.
“When you factor in a president down in the 40s of approval, and a candidate that many people claim they don’t know much about, there is no way we should be losing Michigan and Pennsylvania. But we are,” says the Kerry adviser. “We’ve spent $50 million and have nothing to show for it. Not a single point.”
According to the source, the thinking goes that a complete Kerry ticket out in public sooner rather than later should energize things enough in the media and the base to give Kerry the uptick his people have been waiting for.
There was no indication of who the “surprise” candidate was. “It could be Hillary. It’s assumed that she has been vetted on a separate track from the others. At least that’s the talk. No one here knows for sure,” says the source.
Edwards was due in Boston after the July 4th holiday for campaign appearances, at least one of which was to be with Kerry.
According to a Clinton Senate staffer in New York City, late on Wednesday, a staff colleague called from the road and indicated that “the Senator may need to change some things around next week.” “But we weren’t told to do anything for now,” says the staffer.p> CHENEY TOWN br> Press reports to the contrary, Vice President
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