Ooops … ‘NY Post’ Says Gephardt Gets VP Nod

By: Joe Strupp

It was an “exclusive,” just as the front page boasted. The New York Post, however, became an object of ridicule Tuesday morning when its front-page report that Rep. Richard Gephardt, (D-Mo.), would be named running mate of presumed Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, turned sour by 9 a.m. when Kerry actually picked Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.). Copies of the paper are already available on eBay.

With the headline, “KERRY’S CHOICE” and a subhead declaring “Dem Picks Gephardt as VP candidate,” the “exclusive” story, which carried no byline and continued on to Page 4, claimed that the Post (Click for QuikCap) had learned that Gephardt would be announced as Kerry’s running mate Tuesday.

“It was thought that Kerry felt more comfortable with Gephardt than any of the other candidates,” the story stated. “He even said he would have supported Gephardt if he were not running himself.”

The Post had the story removed from its Web site shortly after Kerry’s announcement, replaced with a story on the Edwards pick. But the front page image on the home page had disappeared, briefly replaced with an image of Friday’s Page One story and later with an image of the paper’s Tuesday back page, which promotes the top sports story.

In a statement, the paper’s Editor-in-Chief Col Allan said he made the call to go with the Gephardt story after the Post received information it believed to be correct.

“We unreservedly apologize to our readers for the mistake,” Allan said.

Gleefully pointing out its rival’s error, the New York Daily News Web site ran an image of the Post cover.

Ebay sellers are already seeking to make money on the Post’s blunder, with at least 16 ads offering the likely collector’s item for sale, as of 10:45 AM EST. The top price being sought was $50, although bids had only reached $6.50 as of late morning.

Perhaps the Post had gotten a little cocky after being the first paper to report unconfirmed reports of actor Marlon Brando’s death just last Friday.

The Gephardt story, which cited no named or unnamed sources, even acknowledged that Edwards had been a favorite of many Democratic Party leaders and would have helped Kerry in the South, but pointed out “he is a one-term senator whose lack of seasoning and foreign affairs could have made voters nervous about his ability to assume the presidency during a war or an international crisis.”

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