July 13th, 2012
09:53 AM ET
11 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. TrueGrissel

    I like and respect MS. Rice so I hope she doesn't align herself up with him.

    July 13, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. David

    Better choice than "Sarah Palin". Still won't make any difference.

    July 13, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  3. Alfuc

    We need the Gays and Lesbians votes. Go Romney, this will be a great choice. Selecting a lesbian as your running mate will bridge that gap.

    July 13, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  4. Dick Hertz

    Surefire way to lose my vote. I may not be happy with Obama but I sure as Hell haven't forgot the Bush days.

    July 13, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    Four and the Door
    Obama is just a political hack who enjoys more the celebrity part of it but seems to tolerate having to actually doing the job. Condoleezza Rice on the other hand is all about doing the job well and somehow tolerating the political and celebrity parts of it.
    The nation needs leaders focused on doing the job well. We have enough celebrities and politicians.
    Yep your a moron. Nuff said.
    Oh I'm sorry. I must have hit a nerve on that one huh.

    July 13, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    Condi Rice?

    No no no.
    This would be the biggest mistake he could make.
    He will then be tied to the DIRECTLY to the Bush Administration and that will be the end of him.
    Bush could beat Obama in 2012 if he was able to run. See, Obama never did beat Bush. GWB was done in by something more ominous than Barack Obama; term limits. Something Obama will never have to deal with.

    July 13, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  7. Mom to 3

    While she is definitely a smart and accomplished woman, I lack respect for Ms. Rice. She simply bowed to anything the Bush administration wanted wether it made sense or not. Some of her excuses for the massive mistakes made during the Bush administration are completely ridiculous. Now why would she possibly want to tie herself to Romney who lacks any real beliefs and just wants to have the power of being President no matter what he has to do to get it. He's worse than Bush and that is saying a lot.

    July 13, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  8. Kym Blair

    Awesome choice!

    July 13, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  9. Mary

    Perfect another feeling kind human being with the best interests of the people at heart. Looks and sounds like she has a broom stick in an unmentionable place, Just what Willard needs a female vp with the warmth of an iceberg oh well maybe she will sink the ship I hope so. He was my governor it wasnt' a pleasant experience

    July 13, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. Big D

    She's to sharp to get to deeply involved with Romney or any of the whack jobs from THIS republican party. Check out how many moderate republicans are staying as far away from Mitt, the teaparty and the rest of these nutjobs. I find it insulting that the right even brings condi's name up especially she has repeatee no.

    July 13, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  11. trex

    ...Come on.............Mitten wont pick ANYONE smarter than he is.......................therefore, TRUMP IS IN THE RUNNING........................................AND Condi...........NO WAY......!!!!!!!

    July 13, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  12. Vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    the far right would NEVER accept Rice as a VP candidate and race has very little to do with it. Truth is she is too NICE to be a runningmate for Mitt. The right wing HATES Obama, they need a Sarah Palin-type attack dog out there to throw them red meat and say all kinds of negative stuff true or false about the president and stand there and grin while the crowd calls Obama everything but a child of God. Condi ain't the one folks. Now if they just necessarily want a black person to do that I am sure Allen West would JUMP at the chance.

    July 13, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  13. Bayousara

    Condie does NOT want the job! She would be bored to death. She needs to keep teaching. Besides, she is forever tied to George W. Bush, and many Americans don't like him because of getting us into to wars we are still involved in. And millions of Americans are pro-choice, so Mitt is yet again alienating a large group of Americans.

    July 13, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  14. ManTex

    Obama and every Democrat working for his election hopes that Mitt will not pick Rice but instead some woman like Bachman or Palin. It is great to see the gop/gotp keep shooting their toes off one by one.

    July 13, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  15. KC Yankee

    Go Mittens! I just can't wait to see what he does next. I like that picture that's all over the internet of him and his cronies waving and eating money!

    July 13, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  16. marconidarwin

    Did it take the focus away from the Bain discovery that Mitt was on it till 2002?


    Try another distraction, Willard!

    July 13, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  17. LNB

    She is whip smart, articulate, but wrong politics for me. She would show off Mitt to be an imbecile. Besides her gender, and race, which are wonderful assets, she is a nevertheless, a republican. Also, she may want to keep her Private life PRIVATE. But what a triple hitter that would be..... All of it fabulous~ for it except for her politics.

    July 14, 2012 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  18. Sue

    Hahahahahaha.........After almost 4 years of Obama and his corruption, lies, incompetence, policies, etc.......It will not matter if Condaleesa Rice was in the Bush Administration. George Bush could probably make a small fortune if he signed/sold teeshirts saying......"Do you miss me yet". Based on the desperate comments by the liberals--you better believe they are worried about Romney picking Rice as his VP!!

    July 14, 2012 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  19. Brandy

    I think she would be smart enough to decline VP as it only comes after Romney was booed at NAACP. That would indicate Romney had no intention of her as VP and he is only using her to his advantage. I dont think she would want to get back into the politics

    July 14, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  20. 0rangeW3dge

    Condi should be the nominee and Mitt should go fiddle sticks

    July 14, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  21. brat01


    How I wish you could have squeezed one toe into Secreatary Rice's shoes, for just a flash of an instant.

    Amazement at terroristic acts is not a crime. Shopping during a natural disaster is not a crime; unless you are the head of Emergency management. Really not the Secretary of State's onus on that one ignorami.

    July 14, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  22. Joe

    Dr Rice would be a wonderful choice if we had a sane electorate. The fact that an inexperienced incompetent from Illinois was able to obtain backing from Oprah, and paint Bill Clinton as a racist advances my assertion that the electorate is insane.

    For you Obama lovers:

    If you love unemployment stay with your man.
    If you love living in the ghetto, stay with your man.
    If all you want is a handout, stay with your man
    If you think that a person's color matters, stay with your man.
    If you have no aspirations, stay with your man.
    If you don't think you're good enough, stay with your man.
    If that's all you are worth, stay with your man

    July 14, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
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