Watch: Journalist Jason Zengerle '96 Exposes, Exposed in, VP Vetting Process

 

CBS This Morning: Reporter on VP vetting process: "really uncomfortable" 

GQ contributing editor Jason Zengerle ['96] once went through the vice presidential vetting process for a story he wrote for the magazine. The reporter describes the process as "like nothing else in politics."

"They ask everything from your tax records to your college transcripts to your SAT scores," Zengerle said Tuesday on "CBS This Morning." But he noted that what "gets really uncomfortable is some of the personal questions."

He mentions a few: Have you been unfaithful to your wife? Have you ever paid for sex? Are there any sex tapes? "Even though I could answer all these questions quite comfortably it was still uncomfortable being asked them," he said.

Zengerle said a vice presidential contender undergoes the most intense scrutiny of any politician. "The presidential candidate manages to avoid this process. It's the vice presidential candidate that goes through it."

He said the vetting process is so rigorous because the presidential campaign doesn't want to be taken aback by the unknown. "They want to know everything there is to know so when it does come out they want to be prepared how to respond," he said.

As for the vetting process of Sarah Palin, Sen. John McCain's running mate in 2008, Zengerle said they did a thorough vetting and were fully aware of Bristol Palin's pregnancy and other potential problems, but the campaign still chose her because they believed, "high risk, high reward." ...

Jason Zengerle '96 writes about politics and culture and his work has appeared in the New Republic, The Atlantic, GQ, New York, the New York Times Magazine, and other publications. His work has also appeared in and it has been anthologized in several books, including The Best American Political Writing and The Best American Medical Writing. He lives with his wife, son, and daughter in Chapel Hill, N.C.