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. Rudy NYC

    I am so glad that she finally got rid of the Betty Rubble hairdo.

    July 13, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. algorelies

    Well, as long as people do not remember that the alleged terrorist attack on 9/11 happened under her watch....I guess it will be ok for condi to consider forgetful americans voting for this ticket.

    July 13, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  3. ALittleBird

    The list has been narrowed down to 3 candidates. The top two of those are a man and a woman. The woman is someone who was not mentioned in this article, and whose name has seldom surfaced as a possibility in the media.

    July 13, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. algorelies

    Well, as long as people do not remember that the alleged attack on the twin towers happened under her watch....I guess it will be ok for condi to consider forgetful americans voting for this ticket.

    July 13, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Marry

    Condoleezza Rice is just as Carl Rowe and Dick Cheney a very smart person – nobody doubts that.
    But she is also like many others in the GOP a very evil person, void of any ethical thinking that grabbed the chance to be “important”. Because of her greed and power-hungry personality she aided and justified decisions that cost thousands their live, their health, their families, their friends, their sanity, their homes…
    -------------------------------------------------
    Nail...head...BANG!
    Well said! Thank you.

    July 13, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  6. scarf

    She might be successful as a VP candidate, BUT she would be worthless as a president. She was a failure as National Security Advisor (witness 9/11 and justifying the Iraq War with WMD's), and she was worthless as Secretary of State (witness Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize for doing no more than replacing an Administration detested by the rest of the world). God help us if this is the best we can do.

    July 13, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. Patrick Lewis

    Romney's running mate... I really don't see any upside here. Either he picks a frother or he picks someone who alienates his base.

    July 13, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    after seeing the way the first African American president has been treated why in the world would Rice want to be the first African American vice president? And also a woman? Although I think the Democrats would treat her far better than the Republicans and the right have treated Obama.

    July 13, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. winky

    Being black myself people would think because she's black black people will vote for Romney she is republican! Enough said!

    July 13, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. GOP=Greedy Old People

    Rice would be perfect! She was a prominent mouth-piece (liar) for Cheney and Company, constantly defending our presence in Iraq. Where's the WMD? Of course, the GOP 'faithful' are not interested in facts.. just themselves.

    July 13, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Mr. Red

    I bet Mitt $10,000 this will not help him win. He needs to pick someone from a state that he needs to try and win this thing. The latest polls show him 35% to 65% for Latino voters. For black conservatives, like myself, he will only get around 5% of the black vote. He also should have not went to a fund raiser with the previous VPOTUS. Not to many people like them.

    July 13, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  12. realitybites

    Another way for the Republicsns to say "Look we got one too" to try to get some of the coveted minority vote that Romney is so desparately lacking. I thought Condi destroyed her reputation on Iraq, Afghanistan, the Bush era, etc, etc, etc. Wow, in one day I see articles about Darth Cheyney leaves planet Dubai to raise money for Romney and Empress Condi returns from Exile for the support of Prince Romney. I wonder where the hidden planet of droids is. Oh, silly me....how clever of them. They're in plain sight. Teabaggers!

    July 13, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  13. RX

    He has no ideas or morals to run on so all he can do is pick a female minority VP to help get some votes he otherwise woudl NEVER have received. Too bad this is the same lady (who I used to adore) who lied to the world and took us into an illegal, costly and devastating war in Iraq.

    July 13, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The female version of a Black Alfred E. Newman (see cover of MAD magazine).
    Condi get your gap fixed, remove the moles and "freckles", and then go write some more books under that rock you slid under as soon as the Shrub scurried off to Crawford for good.
    Oh, and tell Cheney to return that heart that he bought.

    July 13, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  15. GI Joe

    She helped shrub with all his deviousness - that's all anyone needs to know. We don't need to go backward.

    July 13, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. tellin it like it is

    Marry
    Condoleezza Rice is just as Carl Rowe and Dick Cheney a very smart person – nobody doubts that.
    But she is also like many others in the GOP a very evil person, void of any ethical thinking that grabbed the chance to be “important”. Because of her greed and power-hungry personality she aided and justified decisions that cost thousands their live, their health, their families, their friends, their sanity, their homes…and the list what was done with her help in the Bush Administration to people is long! People really forget so fast??? Everyone can see – the same principles that governed the Bush Administration are with Romney back again. It is shameful that they even try…

    interesting that you can label large numbers of people that you have never met and don't know "evil". you need some medical treatment as do many on the left. maybe this is why obama passed obamacare? i guess this country better get busy producing a lot of psychiatrists for that added load.

    July 13, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    after seeing the way the first African American president has been treated why in the world would Rice want to be the first African American vice president? And also a woman?
    ------------------------------------------------
    Yes. Especially in light of today's Washington Post story about the motorcade policeman currently on "administrative" leave for saying that he would shoot that N-word in the head if he could.
    He was referring to our First Lady.
    Why on earth would Condi risk her security and safety to the hands of somebody like that INSIDE our government???!
    By the way CNN, when are you going to break THAT story?
    I won't hold my breath. We all know that trvialities like the Palins are more important.

    July 13, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  18. BEn275

    Noticed how the GOP reacted angrily to this rumor. They don't want a black woman, even one who supports their twisted views, in office.

    July 13, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. ted

    just another rerun from the Bush era and was complicit in all the nefarious Bush/Cheney scams. she has no qualifications

    Obama/Biden 2012

    July 13, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. steven harnack

    I would see it as a cyncal attempt to get a share of the black and women voters. She would though be in line with the Cheney, Rumsfield, Wolfowitz bunch who are pulling Romney's military and world view strings. She could always be relied on to deliver the lies and bad news with a smile.

    July 13, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  21. Derke

    Or, as she's known by the GOP: Twofer.

    July 13, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. Remi

    She would be great and vastly more qualified than the current resident in the White House.

    July 13, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. Debby

    To all those who say Romney is picking her because she is black are stupid. She has been in office and knows her way around foreign policy issues more than Obama's VP does. She is a smart woman with integrity, but I doubt she takes the position for reasons she mentioned.

    July 13, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. Obama Sucks

    I was kind of hoping she'd run for president. Can't say that I would have voted for her, but she's definately a very sharp lady with a lot of experience. It would have been nice to hear what she had to say and if it was something we could support.

    July 13, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  25. kottmyer

    Palin said that Rice has more experience than the President does. Really? The "experience" argument may have made sense in 2008 but seems silly now, when Obama now has more experience at being President than EVERYBODY on the GOP side put together (except the two Presidents Bush.)

    More one-dimensional thinking from a woman who couldn't even finish one term as Governor.

    July 13, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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