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Pelosi urges fast action on VP choice

WASHINGTON -- House minority leader Nancy Pelosi has some advice for presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry: Pick a running mate -- sooner rather than later.

The California Democrat suggested that Kerry make May 1 his deadline for deciding on a vice presidential candidate, well before the party's national convention in Boston in late July.

"It's very important to have another person on the field who is part of the presidential ticket," Pelosi told reporters Friday. "I don't want to see John Kerry debating with Dick Cheney in the press; I don't want to see him debating down. I want him to be debating the president of the United States."

The New York Times reported yesterday that Kerry has told associates that he wants to select a running mate within eight weeks. The newspaper, quoting Democratic Party officials, said the Massachusetts senator has had conversations with at least four contenders so far: Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, and Governor Thomas J. Vilsack of Iowa.

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