(This article appeared in the 4/5/04 joke issue)In a surprise appearance in Pennsylvania yesterday, Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry announced that he has selected University President Judith Rodin as his running mate.
Critics immediately spoke out, saying Rodin's relative anonymity in the rest of the country would hurt the Massachusetts senator rather than help him. But Kerry, citing Rodin's strong capacity for leadership and her propensity for improving Penn's standing in the U.S. News and World Report rankings, said he believes that Rodin will be the perfect complement to his campaign.
"My administration will be a brain trust," he said. "Starting with the vice president, we want to have the country's best and brightest people working for our citizens."
Rodin, who took the stage after a long standing ovation, said that the transition from University president to U.S. vice president would be a tough one, but one that ultimately she is ready to make.
"I have come to the point in my life where it is time for me to make a difference," she said. "And I believe that working with John Kerry to win back the presidency for the Democrats in 2004 is not only the best option for me, but the best option for our country."
"Judith Rodin has all the characteristics of a vice president," Kerry said to a crowd of several hundred Democrats in Bucks County just outside of Philadelphia. "She adds just the right elements to my strategic plan for this country."
Kerry said that Rodin would be a significant aid to his fundraising abilities and noted that he is more than $100 million behind Republican President George W. Bush in funds for the upcoming election.
"My opponent is beholden to corporate interests, but the Kerry-Rodin ticket is beholden to no one," Kerry said. "We now have the support of multimillionaires like the foundation of the late Walter Annenberg and the deep pockets of Jon M. Huntsman."
Throughout the press conference yesterday, questions circulated about Kerry's decision to choose a Pennsylvanian as his running mate, rather than a Midwesterner. But analysts said that the selection was likely a move to secure the electoral votes in Pennsylvania -- a state that is expected to be largely in play for both parties over the next few months.
"Choosing a Pennsylvanian, even a relatively unknown one, should secure the state -- and its 21 electoral votes -- for the Democrats," Democratic analyst Jon Timbas said. "He is also, I believe, trying to secure the feminist vote."
While analysts were surprised at the selection, students at Penn were not. Many believed Rodin was destined for great things after personally getting rid of all crime and blight on the campus.
The Undergraduate Assembly tried to pass a resolution unanimously supporting Rodin as a VP candidate earlier this year, but failed because one person dissented.
The body has never passed a resolution that was not unanimous.
"I told myself when we tried to pass that resolution that I would not sleep until Judith Rodin is working in the White House," UA Chairman Jason Levy said. "It has been three months already, but November is not that far away."
"The only unfortunate thing is that I graduate between now and then, and I will not gain any political fame for my stunt."
Staff reporter Julia Barmeier did not contribute to this report.