The Two-Way
8:30 am
Tue August 7, 2012

One Clue To Romney's Veep Pick: Whose Wiki Page Is Getting The Most Edits?

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 5:46 am

Tech President reminds us that one way to possibly figure out who will be a vice presidential pick is to watch the various contenders' Wikipedia pages in the days before such an announcement is likely.

In 2008, as The Washington Post wrote at the time, "just hours before [Sen. John] McCain declared his veep choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, her Wiki page saw a flurry of activity, with editors adding details about her approval rating and husband's employment. ... Palin's entry was updated at least 68 times, with at least an additional 54 changes made to her entry over the preceding five days."

Meanwhile, the Post said, "on Aug. 22, the day before the Obama campaign officially named [then-Sen. Joe] Biden as the veep pick, Biden's Wiki page garnered roughly 40 changes. Over the five days prior, users would make at least 111 other changes to his entry."

The obvious — in hindsight — implications of the Wiki activity: Aides were going into the entries to tune them up and clean out any material that was either embarrassing or erroneous.

So what's going on now with some of those said to be among the leading possibilities to be joining Mitt Romney on the Republican ticket?

-- Ohio Sen. Rob Portman's Wiki page has been revised 16 times so far today, by someone called "River8009."

-- Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's Wiki page has been revised nine times so far today and 11 times from Aug. 2-6.

-- Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's Wiki page has been tweaked four times today.

-- Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's Wiki page has been edited once today, and 11 times from Aug. 2-6.

-- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's Wiki page hasn't been edited today, but was revised eight times from Aug. 3-4.

-- New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte's Wiki page has not been touched today. It was last revised on July 28.

-- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's Wiki page hasn't been revised since July 24.

Of course, somebody who knows about the 2008 Wiki tea leaves may just be messing with our minds.

And, as Tech President also noted, in 2004 it was "an obscure aviation website" that noticed a John Kerry campaign plane had been repainted to include the name Edwards. And that's how word that then-Sen. John Edwards would be the Democratic vice presidential pick first broke.

For more on the 2012 campaign, see It's All Politics.

Update at 7:45 a.m. ET, Aug. 8. Lots More Action To Report.

Could it be that reports by outlets such as The Two-Way have sparked some mischief?

Portman's page has already been touched 13 times today. On Tuesday, it ended up being changed 98 times.

Rubio's page has been busy too — 22 changes so far today and a total of 28 on Tuesday.

There have been 14 changes to Pawlenty's page as of this hour today, and there were five on Tuesday.

Ryan's page has been busy too — 39 changes so far today and a total of nine on Tuesday.

There have been 10 changes to Jindal's page so far today. On Tuesday there ended up being five.

Someone's been tweaking Ayotte's page. There have been three changes so far today.

And Christie's page has suddenly gotten a fair amount of attention. There were two tweaks on Tuesday and so far today there have been 40 edits.

For those who've seen stories in recent days about the possibility of CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus being Romney's choice, be aware of this: His Wiki page hasn't been touched since Saturday and has only been tweaked three times so far this month.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.