If a puzzling political story shows up on the Drudge Report, you might be inclined to believe that Matt Drudge is looking to help Mitt Romney. But for conservatives pondering his report of David Petraeus being on the V.P. shortlist, this was some chicanery that goes all the way back to Obama. The Drudge report, which went up just after noon, read, "President Obama whispered to a top fundraiser this week that he believes GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney wants to name Gen. David Petraeus to the VP slot!" Drudge is politically conservative and is reportedly close to Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades. Which is why when Drudge floated Condoleezza Rice, many thought it was to change the subject away from Romney's history at Bain and his tax returns just before the Olympics.
But with the games drawing to their close, we're running out of days to speculate about who Romney's VP will be, because the candidate probably has the decency to not ruin the glorious Olympics with boring presidential politics. The announcement will likely come next week, before the Republican National Convention kicks off in Tampa on Aug. 27. Even as a trial balloon, the Petraeus pick hasn't gone over much better than Rice (she's not very pro-life, would make the Iraq war part of the campaign, and may not want her personal life scrutinized too much by the media). The Drudge Report posted a little quiz asking his mostly conservative readers if they thought the retired general and current head of the CIA would make a good VP. They did not. In the unscientific online poll, 42 percent say Petraeus would be a bad VP, while almost 40 percent say he'd be a good one. But maybe that's because they sensed trickery.
Not by the Romney campaign, though. The trickery must come from elsewhere. Not Petraeus -- he's an American hero. The CIA director has long said he doesn't want to get into politics, and besides, leaving the CIA would be a huge deal, Hot Air's Ed Morrissey writes. So this fakery must come from elsewhere -- Obama! "This seems like battleground-shaping to me, a way that Team Obama can make the eventual Veepstakes winner — whomever he/she might be — look a little less serious in comparison," Morrissey writes. At PJ Media, Bryan Preston agrees. "My guess is that this is misdirection. Petraeus doesn’t fit the classic veep-as-attack-dog mold, though he does bring other strengths to the ticket. Romney lives in Obama’s head rent-free, and seems to have the president chasing shadows when he should have been doing his job."
It' certainly can't be that Drudge himself is up to no good. When asked about Drudge's report, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters, "mind your sources." A Free Republic poster scoffed: "Right, Carney. Trying to dis the source who was pivotal in breaking the Lewinsky WH scandal. Drudge probably knows every time Jay Carney takes Bo for walk."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.