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. Four and The Door

    She would be great and vastly more qualified than the current resident in the White House.
    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.

    July 13, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Oliver

    If there was any doubt that Romney would attempt to run things exactly as Bush, its flying out the window. Same policies, same people, same disaster to come. Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting a new result? No thanks Bush. No thanks Mitt. We tried it your way and you destroyed the world economy. Made you and your cronies pretty rich though, so I guess the joke is on us.

    July 13, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. rob brown

    Even though I don`t care for Obama ~ having Rice for a running mate would be worse. Seems like a desperate choice and politics as usual.

    July 13, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. Lando

    One of the Iraq war surrogates.....has blood in her hand. Go away.....

    July 13, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. John

    It doesn't matter who Is Mitt Romney running mate Is ,he will till LOSE. This man can't be Trusted ,because he got his hand In to many pocket. And he won't show his taxes for the last five years like he trying to hide something. And than you have this Bain thing that he lying about when he really left. Mitt Romney can't be Trusted ,end of story.

    July 13, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Shannon

    oh good, she didn't do enough damage to this country when she was out lying to promote the war in Iraq.

    July 13, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. JC in Western U.S.

    How many ways would Condoleeza Rice need to say that she wasn't interested before she was believed? Or is it just that Romney's flip-flopping and claiming that you never said what you said, or didn't mean what you said until you meant what you said today, is just considered standard operating procedure, so why not a VP who does the same?

    July 13, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. Pete

    Are republicans letting Romney pick Rice for VP,I hope so.The indicted member of Bushs past crew on human rights violations should fit in nicely on foriegn affairs,even thou she can't legally leave the country knowing well the implications if she gets caught by anyone working for the Hague,like INTERPOL.She and Bush,Cheney and others have been indicted and warned of human rights violations with trials being held at the Netherlands Hagues court.147 countries have indictments on Bushs crew and authorities are just waiting for them to slip up and become arrested,then tried for these violations.So Romney take on Rice,just another one who sold her soul to the devil and has innocents blood on her hands,good luck leper you'll need it!!

    July 13, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. Indy

    Romney knows he can't win so his VP pick has to be someone he can blame the loss on and Condi would be the perfect person for Romney to blame, the pandering though will flip flop faster then Mitts thinks if he were to pick a black woman that was part of the worst administration in the last several decades.

    July 13, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. artraveler

    Rice is pro-choice. The evangelical christian part of the party that Mittens depends upon will never accept a POTUS candiidate who was and wasn't and was, and wasn't paired with someone who is pro-choice. They would just stay home. Plus she is part of the attack Iran contigent from Bush 2 who are advising Romney on how to get gasoline up to $10/gallon by starting another unpaid for war. I doubt that even the TEA PARTY faithful would approve a war bill that didn't include paying for it.and have teh deficit hung around their neck.

    July 13, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. realitybites


    To all those who say Romney is picking her because she is black are stupid. She has been in office and knows her way around foreign policy issues more than Obama's VP does. She is a smart woman with integrity, but I doubt she takes the position for reasons she mentioned.
    Oh, yeah. Debbie. Awesome Job! Iraq, Afghanistan, Extremely diminished standing and respect on the world stage. What more could we expect?

    July 13, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. realitybites

    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.

    July 13, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. craig

    Interesting idea, but with some significant baggage. "When Richard Clarke told you about bin Laden, the danger that he posed, the the Clinton administrations efforts to take him out of play, exactly what did you do?"

    Short answer: Nothing! Short answer: Ignore him. Bad answers. It's sure to come up, even though the VP doesn't usually deal with foreign policy as much.

    July 13, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    Even if rice were to be vetted and ultimately go in the ticket she's is NOT going to bring in the women or blacks. She was, after all, a BIG part of the bush administration catastrophe.
    It's unfortunate because she is smart but she showed that she wasn't mart enough to get out or never go with #43.

    July 13, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  15. Peter

    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.

    July 13, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. hannah

    It seems that Romney is destined to become Bush redux, same policies, cutting more taxes for the wealthy, calling out countries for being our enemies, more wars, same Bush nightmare all over again. But what is different if Romney were to get in, you can say goodby to the middle class. We will be done in. Public education will be gone, Social security will be privatized as will Medicare, he will try to repeal the ACA law and we will have no health care reform and more jobs will go overseas.

    July 13, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. Marie MD

    I also believe rice's name came up now when the bain capital issue is heating up.
    It's not going to go away bishop. You want to run on your business experience and it's all bain!!!

    July 13, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. BD70

    I like Condi Rice but again..I don't like Romney. Kind of like the McCain/Palin ticket in reverse.

    July 13, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  19. Skipper

    Although several steps up the food chain from Palin, once more another obvious desperate gimmick by the GOP.

    July 13, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    It is amazing how some folks will spin reality to conform to their fantasy. Dr. Rice's entire government experience consists of two appointed offices. She has never run for political office. Her credentials for National Security Advisor was that she was an expert on the Soviet Union, which no longer existed when she took office. Her term in that job and as Secretary of State included missing the 9/11 signals, engagement in two disastrous wars and the destruction of our international image and respect. And yet, somehow she's better qualified for the presidency than the guy who has been elected as a Senator from a major industrial state, and has served as President for 3 plus years under the most difficult conditions since World War 2? I'm glad we have a democracy and everyone can have their own opinions. It's a damned shame that so many of them are not supported by the facts.

    July 13, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  21. Carla

    I do like Condi Rice, more than Romney. That said, and I doubt she join his ticket, I'd love to see her debate Biden...she'd wipe the floor with him.

    July 13, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  22. moi in Austin

    Oh dear god please let this be true. A Bush Apologist, culpable in the Iraq war lies, an uncle Tom in high heels. What a nauseating ticket. Four more years, get used to it Republicants.

    July 13, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. indie52

    Well if he alienates the racists then who does that leave?

    July 13, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  24. Malory Archer

    During the so-called hearings 9/11 hearings, ms. rice stated that nobody could have ever imagined they would use airliners as missiles.

    Except that's exactly what they thought would happen at the G8 summit in Italy a month prior to that fateful day. His people had the dauphin prince safely ensconced on a luxury yacht in the harbor because they imagined exactly that.

    And what was she doing while New Orleans drowned? Oh, that's right – shoe shopping and taking in a broadway show! Smacks of "let them eat cake".

    July 13, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  25. REG in AZ

    All that really need be said, is that Condi Rice was a key component in the Bush-Cheney administration and in their performance. It always appeared as if she actually idolized Bush; he would constantly lie and she would dutifully swear to it. He was a "puppet" for "the money" and she was a "puppet" for him. Romney already has very little credibility and having Rice as a running mate doesn't add any. I can understand he wants to gain standing with the minorities but without any credibility, all he gains is appearance without any real value.

    July 13, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
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