July 13th, 2012
09:53 AM ET
2 years ago

Report sparks speculation of Rice as Romney running mate

(CNN) – While Mitt Romney was raising money in Wyoming with former Vice President Dick Cheney, a screaming headline on a popular and influential conservative website stirred speculation about whom the presumptive GOP presidential nominee will choose as his running mate.

The headline on the Drudge Report Thursday night: Romney had narrowed the field of prospective candidates to a handful, according to sources, "and a surprise name is now near the top of the list: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice! The timing of the announcement is now set for 'coming weeks.' "

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Rice's name has been bandied about by the media for a couple of months as someone that the former Massachusetts governor would possibly consider as his vice presidential nominee. And thanks mostly to name recognition, she topped the list of whom Republicans would like to see as Romney's running mate in a CNN/ORC International poll conducted in mid-April.

Rice, who served as President George W. Bush's national security adviser and then as secretary of state from 2005 to 2009, becoming the first African-American woman to lead the State Department, is an intriguing choice. And she was said to have impressed a crowd of top Romney officials and contributors at a major weekend retreat a few weeks ago in Park City, Utah. Her speech at that retreat was considered the breakout performance of the weekend.

But before speculation runs rampant, a reality check.

Romney has said that he will pick a running mate who opposes abortion.

"My vice presidential nominee will be pro-life," Romney said at a rally in Shelby, Michigan, on February 21.

And Rice appears to favor abortion rights, telling CBS in 2008 that she was "mildly pro-choice."

The Drudge Report headline sparked anger among some social conservatives. Erick Erickson, a CNN contributor and the editor of Red State, a popular conservative blog, tweeted that he had been assured by people in the Romney campaign that the choice would not be Rice.

"Rice is not the veep pick," Erickson wrote early Friday morning on Red State.

But the last Republican vice presidential nominee thinks Rice would be a great choice.

"I think that Condoleezza Rice would be a wonderful vice president, and she certainly has much more experience than our sitting president does today," former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Thursday night on Fox News.

And Palin, who opposes abortion and who said she "would certainly prefer a "pro-life candidate" as running mate, says that Rice's stance on the issue is not a problem.

"We need to remember, though, that it's not the vice president that would legislate abortion, and that would be Congress's role. And we'll keep that in mind."

Besides abortion, Rice and Romney appear to differ on the hot topic of illegal immigration, with the former secretary of state seemingly more supportive than Romney of giving some illegal immigrants a pathway towards legitimacy.

She told CNN's Candy Crowley on "State of the Union" last year that not being able to get immigration reform done on her watch was one of her greatest regrets.

And Rice has shot down speculation that she would appear on the Republican presidential ticket.

"I cannot imagine myself running for office," she told CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" in January. "Not because politics are so tough, but it's just not me."

She reiterated that position as recently as three weeks ago, telling CBS' "This Morning," "I didn't run for student council president. I don't see myself in any way in elected office. I love policy. I'm not particularly fond of politics."

Pressed on whether she would turn down an offer, Rice argued it was a hypothetical situation unlikely to come true, and added, "It's not going to happen."

Last week Romney's wife weighed in on the process, saying that her husband is considering a woman as his running mate.

"We've been looking at that," Ann Romney said when asked in a CBS interview whether her husband should select a woman to join him on the GOP ticket. "I'd love that option as well. So, you know, there's a lot of people that Mitt is considering right now."

Besides Rice, other women that have been mentioned in the past in the media as possibly being under consideration by Romney were Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin.

Of course the only people who know for sure who's being considered are likely Romney, his wife Ann, and Beth Myers, the trusted Romney aide who's running the search for the running mate.

And they're not talking.

The report in Drudge came after a day in which the GOP challenger came under attack from President Barack Obama's re-election team over the timing of Romney's departure from Bain Capital, the private equity firm he co-founded. That story dominated media headlines throughout Thursday, and the Drudge Report story helped draw attention away from the Bain story and onto the speculation over Romney's choice of a running mate.

The report also came a couple of hours after the Romney campaign, in a fundraising email to supporters, teased the vice presidential nominee pick.

"We're getting ready to share some exciting news," Romney's campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, emailed supporters on Thursday. "Sometime between now and the Republican convention, Mitt will be announcing his choice for VP."

– CNN's Kevin Bohn, Ashley Killough, and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • 2012 VP Pick • Condoleezza Rice
soundoff (322 Responses)
  1. DIANA

    These two people should help the country realize that Mittens would only take us back to the Bush years. Rubbing elbows with Cheney and though I like Rice, she was just another Bush croney.

    July 13, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. Expat American

    Secretary Rice is a far cry from Sarah Palin. Will the GOP base, who adored Palin (for obvious reasons); will these folks rally behind Secretary Rice? Romney is going to have to work hard to win over the Tea Bigots and Cross burners festering througout the trailer parks of Red State America.

    July 13, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  3. NVa Native

    Rice is too smart to be pulled in by the worst candidate ever, especially after being pulled in by the worst President ever. She and America deserves better.

    July 13, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  4. Pete

    Does Romney want Rice,an indicted partner in human rights viations with Bush,Cheney and crew.147 countries have indicted these murderers and she's VP material or is he pandering to the black and women voters again,it won't work voters aren't that gullible!!Ron Pauls going to get his delegates and he 'll challenge Romney at the convention,wait and see,the ole man's up to something ,he's been quiet for too long...Have fun republicans,Democrates are!!

    July 13, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  5. Chumlee

    Absolutely. A Romney/Rice ticket would be a terrific loser – go for it Mittens – we need the entertaiment

    July 13, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  6. Sandi Mc

    Perfect....we'd have a repeat of the Bush years and we all know how well that worked for us!

    July 13, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  7. IF YOU SIGNED GROVER'S PLEDGE, YOU ARE A TRAITOR TO THE U.S.

    No more Bush rejects!!!

    July 13, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  8. Mike

    She was part of the lie that took us to Iraq. Another perfect Republican candidate.

    July 13, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. Walter

    If Romney's smart he won't name anyone until he has to. It's funny watching the libs run around like chickens with their heads cut off spewing their venom for the "name of the day."

    July 13, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    She would fit the cold war mentality that Romney's campaign seems to have. If she were to be the pick, Biden would pull her apart. There is so much that can she connected to based on her work in the George W(oman) Bush administration.

    July 13, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  11. 1twinsfan

    Choosing Rice would be such a gift to the Obama campaign. Hey Condi, where is bin Laden determined to strike? And where were those WMD at again?

    July 13, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  12. huh?

    Are you kidding me? Don't you need to get the republican nomination before you go picking a VP? Not only that but this is so blatantly transparent. I really don't want Obama for president but the thought of this lieing, out of touch with the middle and low income americans being president makes me want to bang my head on my desk until my brains fall out. It's amazing to me that republicans are CHOOSING this person to be there candidate when he has made not one definitive statement about anything he would do as president. Oh he's quick to say he'll do things different than Obama but has not once said what he would do. Maybe it's because he doesn't know what he would do because he hasn't been told yet or it isn't on the teleprompter in front of him. This is absolute madness I mean really. He looks like what you think a republican candidate would look like and that appeals to many but that shouldn't be enough.

    July 13, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  13. Four and The Door

    Condoleezza Rice is a brilliant woman and Romney/ Rice would be an excellent team. Besides have an A Team capability on both Economics and Policy, this would be a stark contrast with the Obama Administration in that Romney/ Rice would be a team to do the work of a nation as opposed to the work of politics. Clean up Washington. Romney/ Rice 2012!

    July 13, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  14. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)

    Easy fodder. Just bring back her bungling of starting an unpaid for war under false pretenses and other Bush messes. Do it, Willard. Please pick this Bush relic.

    July 13, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  15. Bill

    Good, I hope he does pick her. As one of the architects of the failed, unnecessary, preemptive war in Iraq, she will serve as a reminder of those glorious Bush years and all the baggage that went with them.

    July 13, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  16. s

    Pleasse do this will kill is running for sure, another lair and a bush looser. Good Pick

    July 13, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  17. Another White Lie

    Anybody he chooses has got to be better than the current court jester thats holding the office now !

    July 13, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  18. Name willardbullock

    I like support vote for presdient roomey and vice presdient rice condlezza 2012
    Maybe she will be great help for mitt roomey that is alright

    July 13, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  19. BigTBone

    Ahhh, the pander to the black vote.

    You may pull a few that way with Condi, but most of America realizes the GOP really doesn't care about you if you earn less than 250K. And if you earn less than 70K, it's your own fault for being uneducated, unworthy or unmotivated.

    It's not about color in 12 Mitt. It wasn't in 08. (It sure was for the TP in 10, though)

    July 13, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  20. NotFooledByDistractions

    The rice announcement is nothing but a blatantly desperate attempt at distraction. Do you seriously think her pro-choice stance is a winner with todays republican party?

    Nice try romney camp, but....fail.

    July 13, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  21. Mark

    Good. She was my choice to run in 2008.

    July 13, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  22. Mgc tampa

    Wow, the base will love that! two moderates running, i.e. The bush presidency act lll.

    July 13, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. Jim, San Antonio

    No way Condi is picked. Too bad, she's not a right wingnut like the others.

    July 13, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. Rosslaw

    Excellent choice. She lied through her teeth about how the Bushies could not have known 9/11 could occur with the use of civilian aircraft and then lied to her teeth in cheerleading the run up to the Iraq war. That she was likely the most ineffectual NSA in history is just an extra. Should be a shoo-in.

    July 13, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  25. Michael Q

    Makes perfect sense to me: the lily white capitalist businessman with a classy token 'black' 'female' running mate. Look out Obama, there goes your support in two more areas: the black vote, and the female vote.

    July 13, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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