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Wikipedia Locks Down Pages of VP Contenders

Excessive edits, vandalism led to protective move


Searching for a clue on who Mitt Romney might select to be his vice presidential nominee? Look no further than Wikipedia.

Starting yesterday, the online encyclopedia started locking down pages on several of the candidates reportedly on Romney’s shortlist. Many of the top candidates found their pages being subjected to excessive editing or vandalism. Now, unregistered users or users who registered within the last four days are unable to edit these pages.

So, who’s on Wikipedia’s shortlist? It’s a who’s who of Republican politicians whose names have been thrown out as possible vice presidents by pundits and the media. It includes:

  • Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty
  • Sen. Rob Portman, R-Oh.
  • Sen. Marco Rubio, R.-Fla.
  • Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
  • Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
  • Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.
  • CIA Director David Petraeus

In 2008, Wikipedia edits served as a tip-off for both John McCain and Barack Obama’s announcements of their respective vice presidential nominees. The day before Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, respectively, were tabbed as running mates, Palin’s Wikipedia page saw 68 edits and Biden’s saw 40, a larger number than other suggested candidates at the time.

Also worth noting are the unlucky veep candidates whose pages have not been locked despite being on Romney’s shortlist. They include Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.; Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell; Sen. Jon Thune, R-S.D.; and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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