The American Staff

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Second Fiddles

Almost before John Kerry had sealed up the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, he was being advised to name his vice president -- now . Every Democrat in Washington seemed to think that an accelerated selection process was essential to Kerry's success; even Nancy Pelosi said that it was "important to have a nominee by May 1." But somehow Kerry held out, and now -- with less than a month before the Democratic national convention begins on July 26 -- the chatter over whom he will choose is louder than ever. Although a long-shot dark horse could come out of nowhere and/or left field to defy all expectations (and spur a frenzy of clichés), the list of serious contestants has shrunk considerably. With the announcement imminent, how do the likely candidates stack up? The American Prospect staff looks at what each man might bring to the ticket -- or take away from it. From our favorite to -- well, let's just say to our fifth favorite, your potential nominees are: John Edwards Seriously...

Purple People Watch

Arizona. Senator John McCain's inevitable return to the Republican fold may have seriously undercut John Kerry's attempts to pick up his home state's 10 electoral votes. While the none-too-secret vice-presidential courtship of McCain boosted Kerry's numbers in April and May, the eventual reunion of George W. Bush with his most prominent Republican critic has dramatically reversed the incumbent's downward trend. This weekend's KAET-TV/Arizona State University poll -- conducted before the handover in Iraq -- depicted a substantial 12-point gap between the two candidates. As McCain more publicly takes up his role as co-chairman of Bush's Arizona re-election campaign, Bush's support among the state's independents -- 30 percent of the registered electorate -- is likely to increase. Meanwhile, a fresh-faced young consumer advocate by the name of Ralph Nader is running for president -- perhaps you've heard? -- and into some trouble. In his increasingly shameless bid to stay on the November...

Purple People Watch

Colorado. The Colorado GOP establishment settled long ago on beer heir Pete Coors as their favored nominee for this fall's tight Senate race, but the religious right is making some trouble for him in the primary. The concern is less about issues (Coors hews to the conservative orthodoxy on gay rights, abortion, guns, and other hot-button issues) than about the propriety of his company's racy advertisements featuring the Coors Light Twins, Diane and Elaine Klimaszewski. The subtext, however, seems to be concerns about Coors Brewing Company's efforts over the years to market itself to the gay and lesbian community. As primary rival Bob Schaffer put it, Coors is "one of the most gay-friendly companies in the nation," a potentially deadly liability among dogmatic primary voters. The Democratic Party's plan to hand the nomination to Ken Salazar, the state's moderate attorney general, who is thought to hold strong appeal in Colorado's growing Latino community, has hit a hitch of its own. At...

Big Foot Bubba

How much damage will Bill Clinton's book do to John Kerry's campaign? Virtually zero, for two reasons: First, although it feels today as if we're in all-Clinton, all-the-time mode, these things pass and are very quickly forgotten. If Kerry has trouble getting on the front pages this week, well, that's nothing new; it can't be pinned on Clinton, anyway. But soon enough, Kerry will be on the front pages. In, say, two weeks' time, he'll name his vice-presidential candidate. The week after that will be the week before the Democratic convention. Presumably, Kerry and his veep choice will embark on some pre-convention barnstorming, earn themselves plenty of free media, as the consultants like to say. Clinton will still be out hawking his book -- but in terms of the news cycle, he'll be an old story. There's plenty of time, in sum, for the focus to return to Kerry before the convention. And by then, Clinton will be completely out of the way. But second and more important: Clinton is simply...

Devil in the Details

Nader's New Raiders When opposites attract, it's not always a case of innocent bliss. During the month of April, donations to Ralph Nader's presidential campaign from contributors who have historically given to Republican candidates or the Republican Party spiked dramatically to 19 percent -- that's $18,000 -- according to a database search on OpenSecrects.org, a nonprofit Web site that tracks money in politics. Back in March, Dallas Morning News reporter Wayne Slater revealed that nearly 10 percent of contributions of $250 or more to Nader's campaign came from donors with a history of supporting the GOP. The Arizona Republic reported in early June that Republican money could also be funding a petition drive to ensure Nader's place on Arizona's presidential election ballot. While Nathan Sproul, the Republican consultant behind the rumor, denies the allegations, Arizona's state Democratic chairman says he has evidence that Sproul is "the primary source of money" for paying petition...

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