Glover in No Hurry, Nagourney Moving Fast

Remember the scene from the movie “Annie Hall” in which Woody Allen’s psychiatrist asks him about the frequency of his sex life, to which the agitated Allen responds in exasperation, “Hardly ever … maybe three times a week?” Followed by the scene in which Diane Keaton’s psychiatrist asks the exhausted Keaton the same question, to which she responds wearily, “Constantly … I’d say three times a week!”

Adam Nagourney of the New York Times and Mike Glover of the Associated Press presented us with their own version of that dialogue yesterday and today.

Yesterday, Nagourney wrote a piece on the Veep-stakes headlined “Quick and Quiet Search to Fill the Democratic Ticket” in which he reported with a certain breathlessness that “Kerry has told associates that he wants to select a running mate within eight weeks, an accelerated schedule intended to help him raise money and respond to a bombardment of attacks from [Bush and Cheney] …”

Today, in what ABC’s political newsletter the Note calls an act of gauntlet-throwing, the Associated Press’s Mike Glover suggests a more leisurely pace in a piece headlined, “Kerry Shows No Signs of Quick VP Decision.” Glover writes that “those most familiar with the [Kerry] campaign’s thinking see mid-May as the earliest potential date for an announcement, and few would be surprised if the decision doesn’t come until June.”

A case of the two stories at odds, leaving confused readers wondering whether to go with Nagourney’s sources (“[Kerry] associates”) or Glover’s (“those most familiar with the campaign’s thinking”)?

Ummm, no.

Both reporters are talking about more or less the same time frame — Glover’s reference to a “mid-May” or “June” decision falls neatly into Nagourney’s “within eight weeks” timetable. It seems Nagourney’s “accelerated timeframe” is Glover’s “doesn’t appear to be in any hurry.” Recent history appears to support Nagourney’s read: The Al Gore 2000 Veep-stakes ended in August, as did Bob Dole’s four years earlier, and July was announcement month for Bush-Cheney in 2000 and for Clinton-Gore in 1992.

Pick your pace.

Liz Cox Barrett

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.