(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.
Personally I always liked her. But, I found her to be a rather weak Sec. of State.
If Romney picks Rice this election is over! Obama will get beat in a landslide!
Nice....head and shoulders above most politicians, on either side, in Washington D.C. Doubt if she would take it. Just an add.... as for charachter and likeability, makes Pelosi look like shark "chum".
captfoxboro wrote: "Condi was Sec of State in 2001when her job was to brief the Prez daily on terrorist activity ...enough said."
You mean national security adivisor. She wasn't appointed secretary of state until the start of Bush's second term (2005).
Rice is a great choice. Politically though, it would be a mistake. It would conjure up the W administration days.
We've given Rice a pass, she was doing her job and i believe she did the best she could.
But there are serious political concerns over taking on a VP candidate who pushed the wmd angle, the smoking gun is a mushroom cloud angle, the whole we'll be accepted as liberators angle.
Rice may end up being more of a distraction of romney's message than anything positive.
Rice, a great VP choice, just too soon.
Let the hateful, demeaning, hypocritical democrat liberals rants begin. Another conservative woman to demean and diminish. What liberal TV dunderhead will they get to portray her and get the dope addicts and welfare frauds that support them to believe it is actually her, like they did with Sarah Palin. Sorry libs, Condi does not have any children for you to say obscene things about.
Condi is ok but her ties to W will always hurt her, I hope she is smart enough to realize that.
Rule #1. Never select anyone smarter than you as your running mate.
Condi will never be VP. She was a favorite of the bush folks but not other conservatives. She is pro choice and is for afirmative action which disqualifies her. This talk is just a way to change the conversation from bain capital.
Was this not the same Condoleezza Rice whose incompetence as NSA to that Dumbya Bush enboldened OBL to execute the 9/11 attack on American soil? Quo Vadis, America?
You mean national security advisor. Rice was appointed sec of state at the start of Bush's 2nd term (2005).
Wow! She would get him TWO points with the mid-liberals, she's black AND female.
If you read the Book of Mormon, you will see that the church believes that black people are the devil's spawn. Literally. No self respecting black person could ever serve with a Mormon. Or vote for one. Can you imagine Condi being asked about the Mormon church in a interview?? Never going to happen.
She'll be a great asset when it comes time to start a war with Iran.
Nice tact away for the debt, economy and other things that really matter to voters Paul..
Condi is the best choice all around...........................Romney and Rice ticket, couldn't ask for anything better. I hope this report is correct...................
Highly doubt it.
1. She was too close to Bush.
2. It would seem like a desperation stunt like the McCain/Palin ticket.
3. Any "middle" vote gains he might pick up would be off set by the loss of the far "right" voters by selecting an african american lady, regardless of her competency.
just what the tea party want a chance that their party will have a black president and a woman
If Mitt choses this woman, he's dead in the water and will not doubt lose big time in the polls. So, on that thought, I hope he does pick her. LOL
She's much too qualified to be the choice. I think they put her name out to test public reaction and to take credit for considering a woman.
If Romney were blessed enough to have Condi on his ticket, the Obama presidency would be done. I would love to see this wonderful woman debate Joe Biden. That would be a laughable show to watch!!
If he picks Rice, then he won't get my vote!
Trying to get the vote of black Americans? That's not how to do it.... I wouldn't trust anyone from that gang of Bush cronies....
Rice would never be on a presidential ticket after the epic fail of Obama. Sarah Palin will pick a woman like Bachmann, Haley, or O'Donnell to be her running mate and they will pwn Obama and Biden.
Romney could pick jesus christ himself and he's still lose.