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. sortakinda

    WOW! Run, Condi, Run!!!

    July 13, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. Thomas

    A female black vice president will go over better than a male president? (I guess lack of power) She's pro-choice as well, and I doubt that will fly with most of the GOP far right.

    July 13, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. gg

    why don,t they just call it the bush three campaign

    July 13, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. CNN Fans

    If RIce is the Romney's Vice President...Americans will clearly see that Romney run for Bush..Third term....haha

    July 13, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  5. Bob from Pittsburgh

    What did she acomplished during her tenure as a scretary of state? NOTHING..!!

    July 13, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  6. Joan

    She is a remarkable and capable woman for sure but she is connected too closely with the last administration. Pres. Bush holds terrible favourability ratings and she was pleased to be his best friend. Also, her role in the implementation of the Iraq war would be a huge negative in the campaign. There must be hundreds of speeches of her supporting the Bush doctrine which Romney never mentions. Her negatives would definitely overcome the positives at this time in history. Maybe in ten years or so when the sting of the Bush administration is not so raw, she might have a chance.

    July 13, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. jb1963

    A lame attempt to court black votes. Talk about transparency? A blind man can see right through this fool.

    July 13, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. shenandoahvalleygirl

    Oh no Condi....I like you...I respect you....but that'll be lost if you take up with Mittens...

    July 13, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. jpmichigan

    This country needs a person like Ms. Rice in the White house. Obama was a fool not to change vice- president in the up comming re-election. I'll wait until 2012 , if Romney doesn't do right by the country, I can only hope Hilary Clinton will run for President.

    July 13, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. rs

    Great. Mr. Romney acts like it is 2000 all over again (cut taxes for the rich!), and Ms. Rice is stuck in the 1970s from a foreign policy point of view.

    Looks like we'll go broke chasin' those Commies!

    July 13, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. Brhino

    I love Ms Rice, I think she is brilliant and talented. Would be proud to have her as our Pres......er uh, vice President.

    July 13, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. captfoxboro

    Condi was Sec of State in 2001when her job was to brief the Prez daily on terrorist activity ...enough said.

    July 13, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    The Drudge Report? This is a reliable source of information? More like a rightie gossip site. Rice has clearly stated that she is interested in policy, not politics.

    July 13, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  14. Beverly - NYC

    Sorry Mitt you're not getting the black vote. However, If you're looking for a hatchet woman, along the like of Alan Keys or JC Watts, to talk mess about Obama, she's your girl. Colin Powell still has her knife in his back, when she let him give false info to Congress and slid into his job after he "resigned."

    July 13, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  15. Ron

    She was one of the few Bush people I thought made sense. Unfortunately, just the fact that she was associated with Bush may make everyone say oh no, not again.

    July 13, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. K

    If Romney is thinking clearly, then there's no way this will happen. She is so tied to W and Cheney that she (and Romney) would waste an excessive amount of time justifying W's policies (and her support of his policies). Romney's got enough problems explaining the past without adding all of W's mistakes to the list.

    July 13, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  17. Beezy

    i dont care who his running mate is. as long as we get rid of obama.

    July 13, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  18. NameRolph

    And what if anything did Rice accomplish in her years of service? Anyone ?
    This is just a hail Mary to the black populace and to women in general to get their support.
    Won't work Mitt-she's a loser and a great reminder of all the wonderful things the Bush years have brought us.

    July 13, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  19. Ancient Texan

    Condi would be a fantastic VP, but she has stated several times that she has no interest in returning to public service.

    July 13, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. CanadaONE

    Romoney is a user!!! he is considering her becaue of colour and gender to try to take personal advanatge – just like he buys everybody else off – he is SO PHONY

    Romoney is an INSULT to people who truly respect gender and colour

    July 13, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  21. NoKidding

    Condi for VP? Oh yeah, help Obama get re-elected, Mitt!!! Way to go!!!

    July 13, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  22. AEK

    Great! One of the co conspirators from the Iraq war disaster. Good call, Mitt!

    July 13, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. Marilyn Malkmus

    what a terrific running mate Rice would make. She's smart and has experience in national and international
    politics something Romney is short in. Super!

    July 13, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  24. dizzylucy

    In some ways I like Rice, but I don't see her eagerly jumping into a campaign. I hope we don't have another "let's pick a woman so women vote for us" McCain/Palin situation. Pick who is truly best for the job.
    Someone should remind Palin that Obama has lasted longer in his job than she did in hers, she quit after 2 1/2 years, half of which she spent campaigning, so I don't think she is in any position to whine about someone else's experience.

    July 13, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  25. GI Joe

    We don't need ANYONE to remind us of Shrub. We have the debt from two unfunded wars (one illegal) and two unfunded tax cuts for the wealthy for 6 and 7 years. ENOUGH IS SOMETIMES TOO MUCH.

    July 13, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
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