US political pundits begin scouring Wikipedia pages for hints over the identity of Mitt Romney's pick for potential Vice President

 

Breathe easy, Donald Trump is not going to be the Republican running mate in the presidential election and has no chance of ever being one heartbeat away from controlling America’s nuclear codes. We know this because his profile on Wikipedia, the encyclopaedia site, hasn’t been touched in weeks.

It used to be that working your sources was the best way to divine who a presidential candidate would eventually invite to join them on their ticket. Thus last week a “top Republican official” told The Independent that Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, had settled on someone we, the media, had not even talked about and that we would know “very, very soon”. Well, that was a week ago. Oh well.

But now we have a whole new means of getting the all-important Veepstakes scoop. Go to the Wikipedia pages of all the possible candidates and see which of them has seen a rash of biographical revisions. The person with the most is your man (or woman), on the assumption that backroom folk in the campaign have been told to tart up that person’s profile in advance of the big public roll-out, due any day now.

If this seems like a stretch consider what happened four years ago. In just the few days before John McCain wowed – or possibly dumbfounded – his supporters by choosing a certain Governor of Alaska as him running mate, her page was altered no fewer than 68 times. If a Wikipedia profile is a candidate’s public curriculum vitae, Sarah Palin’s was apparently in need of some serious polishing and expanding.

A quick leaf through the pages of some of Mr Romney’s supposed shortlist of names by The Independent today would suggest that while Mr Trump is as distant a possibility as Big Bird, the senior Senator from Ohio, Rob Portman, is looking very hot indeed. By 10.36 am, New York time, his Wikipedia page had been twiddled no fewer than fourteen times. Revisions included the upgrading of a mention of his wife, who seemingly would prefer to be known as Jane Dudley Portman rather than just Jane Portman.

Yet, the uncovering of the Wikipedia method of Veep-divining may mean it is already no longer reliable. If the Romney campaign thinks we are tracing Wiki- changes, they will desist from making them. Such is their obsession in keeping the choice secret until the nominee himself is ready to announce it.

“Given the way Wikipedia edits were - post-facto - the tip-off to the VP picks four years ago, it’s likely that we won’t see the same kind of last-minute activity,” noted Micah Sifry, whose site Tech President tracks digital influences on the race for the White House. “You might be better off scouring obscure aviation web sites for postings from mechanics spotting new decals being painted on Romney's campaign plane”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea