Browse Topics



Who Will Be Kerry's VP?
The Short List For a Democratic Running Mate

audio iconKen Rudin's VP Analysis on 'Day to Day'

Massachusetts' Sen. John Kerry is apparently on the cusp of announcing his choice for a running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket. NPR Political Editor Ken Rudin lists the most likely among the potential field and offers pluses and minuses for each. (Check out Rudin's 'Political Junkie' column for his own prediction.)

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark. Credit: Corbis

Former Commander of NATO, Former Contender for 2004 Democratic Presidential Nomination

Pluses: Credibility on military issues. Highly-decorated during Vietnam tour, winning a Silver Star and a Purple Heart. Resolved Kosovo conflict without the loss of a single American life. Two war vets on a ticket running against two Republican non-vets.

Minuses: Voted for former presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Awkward, ineffective presidential campaign. Can a general be a no. 2 to a lieutenant?

audio icon On War
Dartmouth College Town Meeting, Nov. 2003

audio icon Withdrawal Speech
Little Rock, Ark., Feb. 11 2004

audio icon On Democratic Nominee
Little Rock, Ark., Feb. 11 2004

North Carolina Sen. John Edwards. Credit: Corbis

First-Term Senator for North Carolina, Former Trial Lawyer and Contender for 2004 Dem. Presidential Nomination

Pluses: Charismatic and exciting campaigner. Effective opponent of Bush economic record. Gives ticket North-South balance. Top choice in all polls.

Minuses: Less than six years in office. Wants it too much. Questions about whether he has the gravitas to be president. Unlikely to help Kerry win Southern states. Said to be in the pocket of trial attorneys. Might interfere with Hillary Clinton coronation in 2008 or 2012. Like Kerry, he voted for the war. If he's so popular, why did he win only one primary?

audio icon On President Bush
Day Prior to Announcing His Candidacy, Sioux City, Iowa, Sept. 15, 2003

audio icon On the Issues
Sioux City, Iowa, Sept. 15, 2003

audio icon Withdrawal Speech
Raleigh, N.C., March 3, 2004

audio icon On Kerry
Debate in Los Angeles, Feb. 26, 2004

Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt. Credit: Corbis

Retiring after Nearly Three Decades as Missouri House Rep.; Two-Time Contender for Dem. Presidential Nomination

Pluses: From battleground state of Missouri. Favorite of unions. Has strong reservoir of affection on Capitol Hill.

Minuses: Yesterday's news. In Washington 28 years. Safe, but lackluster. Failed in four attempts to bring Dems to majority status in House. Dismal fourth-place finish in Iowa caucuses, which he was once expected to win.

audio icon Announcing His Candidacy
St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 19, 2003

audio icon On the Issues
Campaigning in New Hampshire, Sept. 1, 2003

audio icon Withdrawal Speech
St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 20, 2004

Florida Sen. Bob Graham. Credit: Corbis

Third-Term Senator, Two-Term Governor of Florida and Former Contender for 2004 Dem. Presidential Nomination

Pluses: Popular in key state. Had he been the VP nominee in 2000, it would be President Gore today. Strong national security and intelligence credentials.

Minuses: Bizarre, quirky personality traits. At 67, he is no spring chicken.

audio icon On the Issues
Miami Lakes, Fl., Announcing his Candidacy, May 6, 2003

audio icon Withdrawal Speech
Larry King Live, Oct. 7, 2003

audio icon On Kerry
Orlando, Fla., Campaigning for Kerry, March 3, 2004

Gov. Tom Vilsack. Credit: Corbis

Two-Term Governor of Iowa, State's First Democrat Elected Governor in 30 Years

Pluses: From the Midwest. Not saddled with Washingtonitis. His wife gave Kerry a crucial endorsement before the caucuses. Compelling rags-to-riches life story.

Minuses: Tom Who? Two Roman Catholics on the ticket. No foreign policy experience. According to a recent poll, Iowans are incredulous of the idea. Signed bill making English the state's official language.

audio icon On the Issues
Condition of the State Address, Jan. 13, 2004

audio icon On the Election
Iowa State Democratic Party Convention, June 25, 2004

audio icon On Kerry
Iowa State Democratic Party Convention, June 25, 2004

Darkhorses: The following are not necessarily likely choices, but they have been widely discussed as possible: Sen. Evan Bayh (IN), Sen. Joe Biden (DE), Sen. Bill Nelson (FL), ex-Sen. Sam Nunn (GA), and Gov. Ed Rendell (PA). New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, who for the longest time was on my own short list, are apparently out of the running. -- Ken Rudin



Politically Speaking

High-Anxiety Election: Good News for Incumbents

Ron Elving

Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving says incumbents often benefit in uneasy times.


Political Junkie

Dreading a Tie Vote in the Electoral College

Ken Rudin

NPR Political Editor Ken Rudin answers your questions. This week: What would happen if the Electoral College vote were tied.


The Candidates

Interviews, buzzwords, stump speeches and more from the 2004 contenders for the White House.

Campaign Diaries

Directing the Durham Vote
Elections chief shares insights on running a fair, efficient contest.
Trying Out Politics
Lessons learned from running a local campaign.

Station Spotlight

Campaign 2004
News, analysis, commentary and more from NPR member stations.

Key Contests

Results of key primaries and caucuses, including Iowa, New Hampshire, the seven states decided Feb. 3, and the March 3 "Super Tuesday" contests.

The NPR Debate

Democratic Candidates Face Off in NPR Debate Listen to the full Jan. 6 debate in Des Moines, Iowa.