"Kerry told American Urban Radio Networks on Thursday that a prerequisite is 'somebody who has the ability to fill in as president if something terrible were to happen.' Most presidential candidates say this, but Kerry seems unusually sensitive to that possibility, according to several people who have talked to him. Kerry is a student of history and an ardent fan of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated. Kerry also saw death up close in the Vietnam War, and he faced prostate cancer in 2003."
"Kerry has privately expressed concerns about whether Edwards meets this presidential threshold, the sources said. After the primaries, Kerry remarked to aides, 'What makes him think he can be president?' Around that time, Kerry told aides that if he had lost the nomination, he would have endorsed Gephardt, who he described as ready-made for the job."
Here's what Kerry had to say about the process yesterday: "I have great respect for the interest that obviously exists with respect to the choice that I'm privileged to make. And it is a privilege. And I want to take it seriously and respect it in that way … .I look forward to offering America a team that has the ability to provide the kind of leadership that the country deserves to cut our deficit, put our people back to work, to make America stronger and most importantly to restore our respect and our credibility in the world,'' he said.
''I want to restore trust and credibility to the White House, and I hope that the person that I choose is going to be somebody who matches the expectations of the country about the kind of leadership that people want."
One new name that appears to be gaining currency among outsiders is former Defense Secretary (and Republican) Bill Cohen.
ABC's Dan Harris spoke to a senior Republican close to Cohen who said that the former defense secretary had not, in fact, spoken with folks from camp Kerry. The source acknowledged that he had spoken to senior, serious Democrats intimately familiar with the process who say Cohen is under consideration.
The source said he doubts Cohen would take it if offered. This source — in very close contact with Cohen — feels the goal of floating the name is just to make the list look bipartisan.
Cohen, in a statement to ABC News, declined to say whether he was being vetted or had discussed anything with the Kerry campaign. "Secretary Cohen is flattered to be mentioned, but believes any comment or discussion should come from the Kerry campaign," said Jared Caplan, his consulting group's communications director.
In a separate development, Kerry's stepson, Chris Heinz, told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that his stepfather would announce his pick within two weeks. And, he said, ""I was very pro-[North Carolina Senator John] Edwards in the spring. But now I think we may need someone with stronger credentials on foreign policy."
A Kerry campaign official told ABC News that Mr. Heinz's information about timing was incorrect. Another official said that Heinz, despite his bloodlines, does not have access to inside information about the vice presidential search.
The Wall Street Journal 's John Harwood focuses on the "betting favorite," Senator John Edwards, and Notes that there's not an obvious link between the speculation and Kerry's thinking on a vice presidential pick.