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How to Spot Romney's Vice President Pick in Advance

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, August 6 2012

The Romney campaign wants you to download its mobile app to be among the first to find out who Mitt is going to pick as his running mate, but if past history is any guide, you might want to instead be looking at Wikipedia — and whether any of the leading contenders' entries are being suddenly brushed up.

Sarah Palin's Wikipedia page was updated at least 68 times the day before John McCain announced her selection, with another 54 changes made in the five previous days previous. Tim Pawlenty, another leading contender for McCain's favor, had 54 edits on August 28th, with just 12 in the five previous days. By contrast, the other likely picks — Romney, Kay Bailey Hutchison — saw far fewer changes. The same burst of last-minute editing appeared on Joe Biden's Wikipedia page, Terry Gudaitis of Cyveillance, told the Washington Post.

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None of Wikipedia entries for the current candidates being bandied about by Romney-watchers — Rob Portman, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Kelly Ayotte or Pawlenty — are currently showing anything like the spike in edits that Cyveillance spotted on Palin and Biden's pages back in 2008. But most of those came in the 24 hours prior to the official announcement. That said, if Wikipedia changes offer any hint of what's coming, then today might be a good day to bet on Ryan. On the other hand, his page is hardly the most popular in terms of views, or watchers, as you can see:



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. You might be better off scouring obscure aviation web sites for postings from mechanics spotting new decals being painted on Romney's campaign plane.

UPDATE: As of Wednesday August 8, the Wikipedia pages in question have either been locked or semi-protected from editing by the site's administrators. More details here.

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