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.' "

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

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. brendatexas

    Condi would be a great choice, not because she's black and female but smart and experienced.

    July 13, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. Laura, Boston

    Obama is expert at throwing people under the bus! What do you want to bet, Biden hits the payment next, Time to bring in Hill Clinton. Biden will all of a sudden have a family emergency! Bye bye Joe.

    July 13, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Publius Novus

    Rice was a poor National Security Advisor–who utterly failed to keep Bush 43 focused on terrorism prior to 9/11–and a mediocre Secretary of State. She is not presidential material and she is smart enough to know it. Romney will pick Portman or Pawlenty, or on the outside, Jindal.

    July 13, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  4. kayla

    if she is his choice, that would be real obvious he wants the women and black votes. we shall see.

    July 13, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. Awsm

    If Romney wants to pick up swing votes, he's got to pick RUBIO. A) Hispanic & Latino voters, regardless of party, will give this ticket a serious second look. B) Rubio is a rising star, and the Obama Admin fears him most of all. I predict he's our Commander-in-Chief by 2016. He's got JFK good looks and he's sharp, articulate. These are Romney qualities as well; Rubio's just got youth and a whole new demographic going for him. C) As brillant as Condi is, she was part of a much-maligned administration, even y many conservatives. The Bush Admiistration was not a onservative one. We all know Romney's not at heart all thst socially conservative, but to get elected you've got to tow that ridiculous line. So whatever about pro-life, pro-choice. Roe v Wade isn't going anywhere. Everyone in Washington knows it.

    Rubio for VP all the way. Anything else would be a dilluted choice. Romney needs to show a strong hand. Zero doubt in my mind Rubio trumps Obama.

    July 13, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. james - St. Paul, MN

    If we want a few more wars to drain the treasury and a few more lies to justify them, Condi is our candidate.........

    July 13, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. wgf

    It's only appropriate, since he wants a return to the Bush era.

    July 13, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. Dr Albert

    WWell..........she is a lot smatter than Romeny...at least he will have instant foreign policy background if he gets elected.

    July 13, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  9. retief1954

    Campaigning with Dick Cheney, huh? So Roms is now trying to suck up to and draft off of bad-ass wanna-be Dick? Take advantage of whatever perverse popularity Dick has, huh? Cue the laugh track again! When Roms steps off the elevator and the doors close, Dick and his boys start snickering about how namby-pamby Roms is. The whole Repub campaign is like one of those really bad reality TV shows.

    July 13, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. cedar rapids

    "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."

    This from the same woman that has been slamming Obama for being pro-choice but now it suddenly isnt a problem?

    July 13, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  11. Awsm

    Gotta love these cries of a republican "ploy" to get votes. Um yeah, guys. Thats what a presidential campaign IS; it's a game of strategy. If you read the headlining story here today, you know that the Obama Admin's "ploy" to incriminate Romney for something he didn't do didn't work. Now THAT'S playing dirty. Choosing someone other than another white guy to complement you as a running mate? Now that's just common sense in the year 2012, thank god!

    July 13, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. manyote

    A Bushette? Yes Mitty, yes! Pick Condi!

    July 13, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  13. Woman In California

    Both Willard and Ann are LIARS. Willard would never have this woman of color that "close" to him. Afterall, the Mormon (b)ible doesn't see her as "clean". This is purely a non story.

    July 13, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  14. cedar rapids

    "Let's see; the Dem platform? 1. Gay Marriage 2. Abortion 3. Wealth Distribution through Welfare 4. Free Stuff for Everyone Who Votes Dem 5. ObamaCare 6. Bigger Government ........but truth is 75% of USA are Conservative.......we are not voting for Romney, we are voting AGAINST Obambi! And All the Spin in the world will not help your Liberal cause."

    so funny how someone talking about spin would then spout such nonsense like '75% conservative' and crap like 'free stuff for everyone who votes dem' and 'Wealth Distribution through Welfare '

    July 13, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. RDM3

    Oh ok, I get. They had the 'woman' part with Sarah Palin....but she wasn't Black. I bet the GOP is currently checking census data to find a female half Black half Mexican gay Iraq vet who wears a pistol belt with a 45. on her side and quotes scriptures......next?

    July 13, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. cicName

    Raised $4m with cheney and now thinking of rice as vp? What's this, bush part two?

    July 13, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. MJ

    Rice shouldn't give up her teaching gig at Stanford. I sure as heck wouldn't want to deal with the criticism of serving under GW Bush and Mitt.

    July 13, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. Taylor

    He is not going to pick her.....this is just a bs.......she don't want it amyways. Romney is full of it taking the focus off of ??????????????????????

    July 13, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  19. RDM3

    Oh ok, I get it. They had the 'woman' part with Sarah Palin....but she wasn't Black. I bet the GOP is currently checking census data to find a female half Black half Mexican gay Iraq vet who wears a pistol belt with a 45. on her side and quotes scriptures......next?

    July 13, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. Dixie Normous

    """ I think she's overqualified for the VP position and is better suited to be Commander-in-Chief. She would run circles around Obama, Romney or any other wannabe presidential candidate.""""
    -----------------------------------------
    I agree. To bad that she says she has no interest in politics, only policy.

    July 13, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. Peace

    Condi Rice is totally useless. She mislead "W" and poor George all the claims went to him while it was the idea of this woman Condi Rice. No one should blame "W" and give a free pass to Condi. Her smartness is good for nothing. We do not want her anymore. Folks remember Iraq war with all her talks of a cloud mushroom she sold to people. When I visit the grave of my brother who was killed during Iraq war, I always remember this monster woman!

    July 13, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Sure, because the simplistic unhinged GOBP thinks that pitting a black person against another black person will "shake things up" Condi plays the role sometimes for her benefit but she knows a loser when she sees one.

    July 13, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  23. jk in MN

    She may be intelligent – but she doesn't get high marks from me in foreign policy especially for supporting a war we should not have started in Iraq. She also has said twice in recent history she does not want to be the VP candidate. I would hope she isn't a flip flopper, but hey, then she would fit right in with the king of flip flopping.

    July 13, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. The Film Professor

    I'm a Dem, but she would be a good pick for Romney - but this is only if he thinks he can 100% count on the tea bagger racists and Southern fundies to still automatically vote for him even with a black woman on the ticket. And that would be a huge gamble for him; he might persuade a few more independents, but lose all the racists.

    July 13, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. Me Lane

    Mushroom cloud Condi? Really? She is one of the primary reasons this country waged war on another country based on a pack of fabricated nonsense. Mushroom cloud Condi? Seriously?

    Death, destruction, and financial ruin is Condi's legacy.

    July 13, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13