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. bill

    We need all the help we can get to clean up this mess created by the uhbama.


    July 13, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. sharon

    Rice better be careful because Romney and his croonies will definitely throw her under the bus if anything goes wrong.

    July 13, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. GMarshall

    condi was bush's work wife who failed to get her "hubby's" attention when she was National Security Advisor in September of 2001 - yes, she is the one who was SUPOSED to be keeping us safe....and then when the only sane member of the bush administration left at the start of the second term she becamse hands down the worst Secretary of State we have seen at least since the 19th century. Inept, incompetent, over her head, does not even touch it.

    If she is even a little savvy she will stick to academic life and playing piano. I hear she is actually good at playing piano.

    July 13, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. bill

    Dominican momma wrote:
    Condi get your gap fixed, remove the moles and "freckles", and then go write some more books under that rock you slid under as soon as the Shrub scurried off to Crawford for good.
    Are you old enough to vote? Just asking.

    July 13, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. GMarshall

    I think the surprise candidate is going to be Sarah Palin.

    July 13, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    interesting that you can label large numbers of people that you have never met and don't know "evil". you need some medical treatment as do many on the left.
    Don't know Idi Amin. Evil son of a b though, for sure. Hitler too.
    Incidentally she did say "SOME", but don't let the written word get in the way of your tired, and ridiculous line of "reasoning'.
    You sound like you're off of YOUR meds. Thank God for Obamacare. Get some.

    July 13, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  7. crapweasel

    Yeah, pick her! Pro-choice, check. Reminder of the Bush era, check. Seriously, CNN? You fell for this?

    July 13, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    Dominican momma wrote:
    Condi get your gap fixed, remove the moles and "freckles", and then go write some more books under that rock you slid under as soon as the Shrub scurried off to Crawford for good.
    Are you old enough to vote? Just asking.
    Noticed that you left out the part where I alleged that she looked like a Black Alfred E. Newman.
    Learn to laugh....kid

    July 13, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. brian

    He needs the black vote........end of story

    July 13, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. Jack

    Deja vu all over again.

    July 13, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. Woman In California

    As far as I am concerned, any woman or man on the national stage who would refer to a married person (especially the POTUS) as "their" husband is twisted" and in severe need of psychological help. She proved to the world she is not only greedy but amoral as well.

    @ DM
    Yes. Especially in light of today's Washington Post story about the motorcade policeman currently on "administrative" leave for saying that he would shoot that N-word in the head if he could.
    He was referring to our First Lady.
    Why on earth would Condi risk her security and safety to the hands of somebody like that INSIDE our government???!
    By the way CNN, when are you going to break THAT story?
    I won't hold my breath. We all know that trvialities like the Palins are more important.

    I too, was wondering where this story was. Where is this story CNN?

    July 13, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  12. MaryM

    Condi already said NO way Jose.
    There is a new "W" in town and his name is Willard

    July 13, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  13. Vic of New York

    Oh yeah. She's going to get a lot of votes.... Explaining her participation in the Bush Administration! By the way, what ever happened to those "Weapons of mass destruction"?

    July 13, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. beevee

    I am almost certain that the republican party will not allow this to happen not now, may be later.

    July 13, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  15. Mr Dalloway

    She'll be about as disgusting as Sarah (yappity yap) Palin.

    July 13, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. Floe

    Nah, not Ms. Rice. Romney's going to pick Bernie Madoff as his VP. Fits right into his economic worldview. What, he's in jail? Just a minor detail the Tea/Repubs will gloss over with attacks via Pres. Obama's birther non-story.

    July 13, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  17. snowdogg

    "She has been in office and knows her way around foreign policy issues more than Obama's VP does."

    She knows a LOT more about foreign policy issues than Romney.

    July 13, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. Randy, San Francisco

    Rice cannot pass the Tea Party conservative wingnut purity test. End of Story.

    July 13, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rice-a-Romney, the flavor CAN be beat!

    July 13, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. teena

    oh my heav ens–4 more years of the bush dynasty anyne??

    July 13, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. Rockymcgilicutty

    Is every media outlet going to just ignore rule #38 of the GOP Charter and hope it goes away.This should be the biggest politcial story.Yet not a peep out of any MSM.If all the delegates are unboundlike what was allowed in 2008.There is no way Romney gets in on the first count.Why is this being igrored?Somody answer why we want a yes man as our canidate.Anyone who ran for the office would have a better chance of beating this man with no room left fr any more skeletons in his closet.

    July 13, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. ptw

    Rice is a bout a zillion times better than Palin, that's for sure. But I suspect that she has too much baggage from being associated with the Bush Admin. She was Bush's National Security Advisor and so 9/11 was a fauilure on her watch, and later she was Secretary of State as Bush's cowboy diplomacy was wrecking America's relationship with everyone else–even with longtime allies.

    As such, Rice will be constantly on the defensive and the failures of the Bush Admin will be repeatedly dredged in front of the voters' faces.

    July 13, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  23. Conrad Murray

    "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 a pack of Wrigley's in a bodega knows more about economics and the economy, because it spent a lot of time on the shelf.

    July 13, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. caesarbc

    It doesn't matter. Romney appears to be currying favor from blacks.

    Obama will win again and the rich will have to pay.

    July 13, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. caesarbc

    It doesn't matter. Romney is perceived as attempting to curry favor from blacks.

    Obama wins again, and the rich will have to pay.

    July 13, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
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