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. Lenny Pincus

    No way. Not conservative enough for the Focus on the Family crowd. Personally I'd love a VP who had her name on an giant oil tanker.

    July 13, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  2. Sarah White

    Mitt needs someone with extensive foreign policy experience to make up for his lack thereof. Condi Rice and Jon Huntsman are the only two choices that I think will fit, and frankly are the only two names I have heard so far for which I have a shred of respect. If he can't get one of these two, I think Romney's campaign is doomed.

    July 13, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. mcrusa

    Great idea. Let's hope Cheney & Rumsfeld are available too. It would be wonderful to have the old team back.

    July 13, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. Richard in Houston

    Rice would be a great choice to give the ticket foreign affairs exprience. However do you want someone with ties to former pres GW Bush?

    July 13, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. karllinen

    I think Ms. Rice would be a better candidate for President. Her reputation and character are much better than Romney's, but let the Republicans carry on with this cowardly man who enlisted the aid of five others to assault John Lauber.

    July 13, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. Dave T

    Even though I think she has the right credentials and is far more qualified than the last female VP candidate, I don't think bringing back part of the Bush administraton with it's disasterous policies and Iraq WMD screw ups, and who left office with the lowest approval rating of any former president is a good move. Also not sure if the far right will be turned off by an African American women even though she is a conservative.

    July 13, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. Thomas

    why not , she is took part in making the mess , maybe she wants to help clean it up ?

    July 13, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. Daniel

    I think the Romney people might have let this leak just to see the reaction. But it's unlikely for all of the reasons mentioned so far. Many conservatives already have a hard time swallowing Mitt and picking a pro-choice nominee will not help. The fact that she is also associated with the Bush administration will not help either with independents.

    July 13, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  9. DBin AR

    This is a campaign Hail Mary, nothing else. He is dangling her as a carrot to take the heat off his Bain Bombshell. She has no choice because she is pro-choice. Imagine that a woman who wants to decide what happens to her own body. Anyway Mitt is woefully unprepared for this campaign. All the money and campaign infrastructure in the world can't prevent a empty suite puppet from being exposed as just exactly that.

    July 13, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. ART

    Theres Mitt with his retrograde rhetoric

    July 13, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  11. slippery

    Condi has too much 'class' to bum with Mitt.

    July 13, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  12. gg

    mitts hobby is running for president-he,ll be able to start over in november

    July 13, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. FedUp

    I would love to vote for her for President.

    July 13, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. booboot0805

    Romney will not pick Rice as his running mate. She is much smarter than him and he sure wouldn't want her to grab the attention at every turn of the campaign. I think he should pick Sarah Palin. He and her would be true representatives of the people they wish to represent: MEDIOCRITY at best.

    July 13, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. Michael in Houston

    Not going to happen. Way to much baggage for a general election. And that Palin thinks Rice would be good should be more then enough reason to dismiss this categorically.

    July 13, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. dnokc

    Personally I was hoping Condi would run for president! GREAT choice for VP and young enough to lead our future! I'm all in if she's selected!

    July 13, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  17. johnmenacherjr

    I like her but cant imagine voting 1 for a mormon bishop and 2 someone from bushes never ending disasters. Besides I doubt she can pass the Grover purity probe.

    July 13, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  18. Maxx

    You mean the same Condi that ignored a memo saying Al Qaeda wanted to attack within our borders and was shopping for shoes when 9/11 happened? And then went on national tv and lied about Iraq's wmd's and warned of a mushroom cloud? Sign her right up.

    July 13, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. mikle

    Obama mistakes about not proper story. This man admit that he did not have any idea what president job. What a looser.

    July 13, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  20. Ron

    A failed, affirmative action SOS.

    Yah, great choice.

    July 13, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. California Gary

    Sure......put her on there Mitt. She did such a wonderful job with our foreign policy during the Bush years.......and keep hanging out with Dick Cheney too.......that tells us a lot about what your administration would be all about. Basically, a "Bush II" kind of presidency.......that would be very popular!

    July 13, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. Pat

    Anyone but meg whitman...........she makes margaret thatcher look like Mother Teresa...........but have they checked condi's birth certificate?

    July 13, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. KKK

    -- I think it is a good move, she is black (still a min. and a woman) but not a man. IF his strategy is getting some1 as the Mr. pres. Obama (Black); pick a man: Powell. I like Powell. But being Mitt a mormon... I prefer to lose my job and money, house, and A/C than having some1: mormon. Faith over money is for me....but Praise the Lord Jesus for Free of Speech in America.... But i am still voting for Obama... He will win it by 5 % – 7%....

    July 13, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. Anthony

    Great choice. She's expereinced, black and woman. perfect choice to win this election. Romney 2012!!

    July 13, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. CorporationsRPeople2

    Condoleza Rice is bright but has too much baggage.

    1. As National Security Advisor in 2001, she was busy 'keeping us safe' on 911.

    2. She was part of the team that moved our resources away from getting Osama Bin Ladin to invade Iraq to look for non-existent WMD's.

    3. Having an African American woman one heartbeat from the presidency won't fly with the red neck base of the GOP. Clearly this isn't her fault but will make many of the GOP voters' head's explode.

    July 13, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
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