Those pesky Associated Press correspondents who trail prominent American politicians around Europe, eager for a non-scoop on the presidential race of 2008, are up to their old tricks.

To recap: In early October of last year, the AP cornered Rudy Giuliani in Denmark and forced him to admit that he would consider in 2006 whether to run for the Oval Office in ‘08. In mid-October, Al Gore confided to the wire service while in Sweden that he wasn’t planning on running, ” although he “did not completely shut the door to political endeavors.” That led us to wonder, “Why is it that U.S. politicians go to Scandinavia to tell (or to not tell) the Associated Press about their plans for the future?”

The AP followed up with a domestic variation of the genre the very next day, reporting (shocker of shockers) that Ted Kennedy would support John Kerry if he ran again in 2008.

But then the well went dry. Until, that is, we spotted the latest installment in the AP’s scintillating series, a slender story entitled “Kerry Won’t Rule Out Presidential Bid.”

In the two-paragraph piece, the AP reported from Davos, Switzerland, Kerry’s statement Thursday “that he does not rule out a repeat run.”

Spying Kerry “speaking on the margins of the World Economic Forum” in Davos, the AP shrewdly knew what it had on its hands: A United States politician in Europe! So, naturally it asked if he would run for president again. Said Kerry: “We’ll tell you somewhere down the line.” The AP also asked “whether he would not rule it out,” to which the senator responded: “No — I haven’t.”

And thus another politician loose on the European continent managed to slither out of the AP’s grasp with a vague non-statement statement — and the AP rushed to print with another non-exclusive.

If you'd like to get email from CJR writers and editors, add your email address to our newsletter roll and we'll be in touch.

Edward B. Colby was a writer at CJR Daily.