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Veepstakes: Kerry's New Ad and the Return of the Nominee?

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the man who disappointed millions of Democrats when he came up short to President George W. Bush in 2004, is experiencing something of a renaissance within the party of late -- even being mentioned by some as a longshot vice presidential pick for Barack Obama.

Howard Wolfson, former communications director for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential bid, stoked those rumors during an appearance Tuesday night on Fox News Channel when he said he had heard that Kerry was being vetted by the Obama team. "Look, John Kerry has been vetted," said Wolfson. "He ran for president. I think he would be a strong choice. He'd be a good choice, especially in the context of foreign policy." (Hat tip: The indispensableMichael Patrick Allen and his "Politico Playbook.")

Then earlier today, Kerry sent out an email to his three million person strong list -- still one of his biggest assets as a national player in the party -- denouncing the new anti-Obama book by Jerome Corsi as a re-run of the Swift Boat-style attacks that were aimed at him during the '04 campaign.

"We've got to fight back every way we can," wrote Kerry, introducing a new website called Later in the email he writes: "You can't just play defense against smears, pointing out how they aren't true. You've got to play offense, too, exposing the whole cynical game." That sort of language is music to the ears of the Democratic base on whom Obama is depending to produce a massive turnout in the fall.

In the midst of the growing speculation about Kerry on the ticket, the Massachusetts senator went up with the first ad of his Senate re-election race -- an ad designed more to re-introduce him and his story to Bay State voters than out of any fear of losing what looks to be a cakewalk to a fifth term.

The ad, produced by new Kerry media consultants Shorr Johnson Magnus, is extremely good and should serve to remind Democrats down on the Massachusetts Democrat how potentially potent he can be as a surrogate for their side.

Could Kerry be the darkhorse veep pick? Possible but not probable.

Time and again Democrats have written off their past losers, focusing almost exclusively on the need for a fresh face each and every four years. The party urged Al Gore not to run in 2004 and did the same for Kerry in 2008. Given that history, there are real questions about whether the party base would be fired up if Obama happened to tap Kerry.

Another factor arguing against seriously considering Kerry is that at the core of Obama's campaign pitch is the need to bring fresh faces into the process; Kerry does not qualify.

The Kerry boomlet then is best understood as part and parcel of the long veepstakes process. All of the regulars have been written about ad infinitum; the media -- and the chattering class -- are desperate for some new names.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 13, 2008; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Veepstakes  
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Next: Veepstakes: McCain's Pro-Choice Trial Balloon?


I like what that Latona lady said in her posted comment, about RFK JR. for veep. She makes a good point.
His Dad Bobby, would have made the Changes 40 years ago, that Obama's talking about now! We'd be 40 years ahead, instead of this crap we live with now!

Posted by: Surf Dude | August 17, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I vote Bobby Kennedy, Jr for Vice Prez!

Who else knows Washington, world politics, and environmental issues better than he?

Baby, he was born to run!

Posted by: Lona LaTona | August 17, 2008 3:49 AM | Report abuse

hi! Sandy5274! Wakeup and get real. Your tirade against Kerry out-"Foxes" Ann Coul"dirt".

Any way, whomever Obama chooses as his veep, some of us will vote for him. My only worry is that those "young republicans of -a-different-color" who voted for him in the primaries may shift to the "hawk" to continue the on going wars and may add one or two more wars!! How trigger happy we blokes are, in spite of our being hated by 204 countries of this planet!!

My 2cents: If Obama chooses, Hillary Clinton, he is a shoo-in, I believe!


Posted by: viravi2002 | August 15, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Steve Rodriguez, you say the swiftboat ads were "mostly true". Just for my own curiosity, which parts do you believe were true and which do you believe weren't?

Posted by: Kind671 | August 14, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Who is this Thomas Guinness character? What country are you from, another one we either save or bankroll? You are Jewish and ripping Christians - I KNOW you don't want me to go down that road, do you? It's a conversation you CANNOT win.

Furthermore, did the internet empower a bunch of loonies by giving them voice while living in their mom's basement or what?

Sticking to the issues - in response to one of your posters - the media DID fact-check the swiftboat ads, the ads were mostly true. The problem wasn't that Kerry did not respond to them - he did. It was simply the American people not buying him as President, on MANY levels, including me!

Don't show your cro-magnon reflex by naming me a nazi right winger, because I voted for Clinton in 1992 because I wanted a change in our economic future, and I voted Clinton in 1996 because I was satisified with our governance in Washington. I voted Bush in 2000 and 2004 for the same reasons - Gore and Kerry seemed like a--holes, condescending, and arrogant - qualities I do not want in my leader of the free world.

This is a quality that Obama has, and it represents the ONLY hope Republicans have. Forget the veepstakes, the day after no one cares (Agnew, Quayle, and their guys won!). This is the Democrats year, and Obama's time, but if Joe SixPack watches him be President of the World in germany, and listens to some of those speeches, and draws the conclusion that he is an a--hole, then McCain might, just might, pull an upset.

Posted by: Steve Rodriguez | August 14, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Well, is that a great ad, or what? Thanks for sharing it.

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | August 14, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I take strong issue with your first sentence Mr. Cilizza. Sen. Kerry did not disappoint me. The people who did not vote for him for President disappointed me. The inability of the media to factcheck the Swiftboaters claims sufficiently disappointed me. The Swiftboaters themselves angered me. But no, Sen. Kerry did not disappoint me, nor have any of the prior Democratic candidates who lost disappointed me. Dukakis, Mondale, Kerry--I support them all and wish that more people did, then the world would be better off. The bottom line, they shouldn't be blamed for losing, the people who didn't vote for them should accept responsibility for their votes.

Posted by: Kind671 | August 14, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

DexterManley: Please contact our Dublin Headquarters for the Guinness Book of Records. We've been searching far and wide for the world's "dumbest man" and I think you should deserve that title!
Thomas Guinness

Posted by: Thomas Guinness | August 14, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

John Kerry, for real? The guy who called Howard Dean an "idiot" because Dean said that people in the US were neither more nor less safe because of the death of Saddam Hussein.

John Kerry, who made John Edwards look like a profile in courage merely by Edwards's accepting the mandatory Ohio recount only to have selfsame Kerry bag it and concede.

John Kerry who wore a tin soldier outfit in which to present his speech accepting his nomination. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I thought maybe my girlfriend had put in a DVD of The March Of The Wooden Soldiers for her son while I was in the bathroom.

John Kerry who not only allowed himself to be "swift-boated" but accepted his ex-communication without even a whimper for what? Being pro-choice? I live in a country whose official state religion is Catholicism and that's not grounds for excommunicating anyone! Abortion available through national health and all contraceptives over the counter.

Biden is weird and kind of bigoted towards African-Americans and Latinos and kind of a war-monger, but he's aggressive and he's had some interesting ideas about how to resolved Iraq fairly and peacefully. Biden was, of course, one of the architechts of the wretched bankruptcy bill signed into law by his good friend, George W. Bush, and whose effects have only just started showing up in the economy and in the baroque way American Christians do things.

We Jews have our ways of dealing with such things. Part of it is not getting jammed up borrowing more than we could ever afford to pay back and the other is the good old talking cure -- psychotherapy, plus anti-anxiety agents. Your official White American Christian (tm) handles bankruptcy with arson and suicide and maybe killing a state official or two.

Nice country you got. Nice people. Real stable. But that's another story.

If Obama wants to lock it down, he takes Clinton or Rendell. If he feels intimidated in some way by their strength or their odd "female" and "jewish" ways, he can do fine with Kaine or Bayh.

But gee whiz Biden is better than Kerry. Kerry would be saluting McCain on day one of his part of the campaign. And if Obama puts that butcher Powell anywhere near his campaign, I'm advocating as strongly as I can for McKinney or Barr.

For now, it's Obama all the way. But please no Kerry.

Posted by: DexterManley | August 14, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Oh come on here now,as that lying pompus arse,phony Viet Nam War Hero,later turned
into a traitorous male Jane Fonda,loser
liberal ding a ling Windsurfer John Kerry
will make certain that Messiah Empty Suit
Marxist Socialist Democrat Liberal Loser
Pal Barack Hussein Obama will have lost the
2008 Election, with the help of John Kerry
and his Big Mouth Liberal BS! NOBAMA!

Independent Voters Against OBAMA 2008!

Posted by: Sandy5274 | August 14, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Kerry is one of the few Dems that will get in the McCain's campaigns face. IF Obama isnt going to try to put a stop to all the little insiduous lies and smears than other Dems had better stand up and fight. Kerry is wrongfully tagged by the Swift Boating but if anyone is furious with the Reps. it is him

Posted by: nclwtk | August 14, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Senator John Kerry is a vindictive,angry loser. He let the Republicans define him, in 2004, George W. Bush should have lost that year, but when you run against an elitist snob it is so easy to turn off blue collar Democrats. This year is the same, the liberals like Howard Dean and Speaker Pelosi are doing the same, no lesson learned. Obama is a snob arrogant and doesn't connect to white voters, moderate Democrats, which is a recipe for defeat in November. As a moderate Democrat I look forward to Obama's defeat, where he will be silenced, I am already tired of the Media's darling. It is also amazing how many of the people I held in high esteem in the Democratic Party, have drunk the "Obama koolaid" and are so intoxicated with Obama that they are are willing to alienate the backbone of the party. Obama is not getting my vote. As a moderate I have no choice but to vote for John McCain. Whenever I hear Senator "botox" Kerry, Caroline and Ted Kennedy, Speaker Pelosi, Senator Claire McCaskill, MSNBC, Media Matters, Andrea Mitchell and Keith Olbermann defend Obama a red flag goes up, either they have lost an election or not credible.

Posted by: Victor Flores | August 14, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

One of the best political ads I've ever seen. Moving, genuine and meaningful. Well done.

Posted by: Alex Kantrowitz | August 14, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Kerry could be a possiblity. Meaning that the 3rd night of the convention, Obama's VP's nomination speech night, is national security night make him a prospect to say the least. I doubt, though, that Obama will pick Kerry. Kerry is almost a sure bet to win re-election in Ma.

Posted by: reason | August 14, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Good news!!! Apparently, the VP choice is going to be announced any minute, and it is a great pick! ---->

Posted by: Tom M | August 14, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: BAN RADIATION WEAPONS! | August 14, 2008 1:31 AM | Report abuse

The democrats will pick Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania as the vp.


It is clear the the Electoral Map should govern such a choice and this is the best choice given the landscape of geography and options.

You heard it here first.

McCain is actually in an extremely great position given the geography and options - Romney is perfect on both accounts. Extremely few candidates have the ability to carry two significant states with Michigan and Nevada Romney is perfect. In addition Romney brings an important Economic Resume Strength to the ticket which is ....... words can not describe how it is.


Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Biden. I've said it a million times. It's going to be Biden.

Posted by: | August 14, 2008 12:02 AM | Report abuse

I agree with one of the other comments.
Probably Kerry is under consideration as SOS.
Candidates use the Vetting opportunity to Vet some of their future Cabinet members.

I don't know enough of MA to say that Dem. would retain a Dem. Seat in the Senate. If YES, then certainly Kerry is a possibility to end his career as SOS.

This is dependent on Obama chooising Biden for VP. I believe Kerry may be one of the few people who knows Obama will chose Biden as VP - they are all friends.

Originally I was hoping Obama would choose Wes Clark for SOS. Kerry will now scre_ Wes Clark again - first for not choosing him for VP in 2004.

Obama/Biden 08

Posted by: jerry25 | August 13, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Great commercial. John Kerry may not be the most personable politician around, but he's a good man and a true American patriot.

Posted by: Patrick | August 13, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

If Senator Kerry keeps running away from playing democracy here at home in Massachusetts by refusing to debate his worthy Democratic opponent, he'll need another job.

Posted by: Tomas | August 13, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Anything Howard Wolfson says these days is dubious. He's a troublemaker, and he's certainly not close to team Obama. Besides, Kerry has stated clearly he has no interest in the Vice Presidency. His behavior expressed open disgust at the idea actually (I believe this was on Face the Nation a few weeks back). So I don't find this editorial of yours interesting Chris.

Posted by: Justin | August 13, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

If Obama WERE going to pick a past nominee to join his ticket, wouldn't Al Gore be a MUCH better choice?

Posted by: NathanIrwin | August 13, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse


If they did they would be just following McCain.

McCain based an ad in 99 around himself in Arlington Cemetary.

Posted by: dl | August 13, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it a violation to film or use footage of Arlington National Cemetery in political ads? I think he owes an explanation for that shot. Disgusting.

Posted by: JoeMA | August 13, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

wow slow news day.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse


If Kerry wants to help, he'd tell Barack to exit the Hawaiian vacation bunker and get back into the fight, posthaste.

Actally, the Kerry resurrection furthers another narrative: that Obama may NOT end up being the nominee. The scattered media reports about a Hillary revolt at the convention are just the vanguard of a tidal wave of opposition to the Obama candidacy and the tactics of its operatives. Hillary won't get the nomination, but she could be a stalking horse for another major party figure such as Al Gore. (I agree with Chris that Kerry's out of the running; too old news and he hasn't reinvented himself as has Gore.)

While it may seem indelicate to connect today's tragic news out of Little Rock to "fighting back" on the political front, I see a direct connection. The shooting of the Arkansas Dem party chairman very well could have been an act of political violence. The fact that the would-be assassin is dead rings a terribly familiar note.

There is a frontal assault on the Constitution and it goes beyond the niceties of politics and to government-supported domestic terrorism in the form of organized community gang-stalking and a network of government programs that target and devastate American citizens outside the bounds of the law.

The Democrats have been complicit by failing to police Constitutional abuses, preferring to "wait it out until we're in the White House." Guess what? Time is up. There can be no more waiting. As John Kerry says, it's high time to fight back -- before there's nothing left to fight for.

BUT WILL THE ELECTION EVEN MATTER? Not when government-supported "vigilante injustice" squads are targeting Americans outside of the bounds of the law:

Posted by: scrivener | August 13, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I hear he is interested in Sec of State.

If Biden gets the VP nod, that could actually be a possibility.

Posted by: JDMac | August 13, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse



I would say that if Wolfson said it chances are it's the opposite. I think Hillary would even say ...if Wofson said's probably the opposite.

Wolfson is the new Dick Morris

Posted by: dl | August 13, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Color me skeptical that Wolfson has a clue about who's on Obama's shortlist and who's not.

Posted by: bsimon | August 13, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse


Kerry wouldn't let himself be demoted in this way. Also, the Repubs would just drool over the prospect of eviscerating him again.

Posted by: kiernanje | August 13, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

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