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. steamboat

    All arguments are moot (for you Repubs, that means pointless). Rice has stated she would not accept an offer under any conditions

    July 13, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. Pete

    Does Romney need an indicted republican for human rights violations as VP,I don't think so,being indicted in 147 countries,can't get much better than that joining Bush,Cheney,Rumsfield and company just to name a few!!Next place for them is the Hague to stand trial,can't wait to see that show in the Netherlands,I hope its televised globally!!

    July 13, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. Bryan

    LOVE this pick. I'm pro-life, but Rice is an epic win for the ticket!

    July 13, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  4. Ron

    OMG! This is so transparent; they started this ridiculous hoax to stop all the question about Romney’s days at Bain Capital. Seriously she will be the VP the same day I buy the NY Yankees.

    July 13, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. Peggy Munro

    Why would Rice want to do that to herself? Why would she want to run on a Romney ticket?

    July 13, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Jon in Texas

    This is the one VP choice that the Obama campaign would not be able to overcome. Anyone who claims that she's tied to Bush or not conservative enough have never really paid attention or listened to her. She would absolutely embarrass Biden in debates. As much as I would like to see her accept the VP offer, I don't think she will. Personally, 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.

    July 13, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. Earl J Wagadorn

    Great choice. This would help BO.

    July 13, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. Ooohbilly

    Mmm. Romney Rice: Rich flavor with a hint of brown sugar. Pass.

    July 13, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |

    Another bush retread ,no thanks !!!!

    July 13, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Dave

    Wasn't Condi Rice part of the team that told us we needed to invade Iraq because they possessed weapons of mass destruction? Yeah, that's what I thought. Although you have to give her credit, she at least has a measureable IQ – much unlike the vast majority of the Republicans out there...

    July 13, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. Pander Bear

    More useless banter form the GOP. She's already said she wouldn't accept. The conservatives are grasping at straws.

    July 13, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Freeb

    He's just trying to change the subject from Bain and taxes. Condi will NEVER be BP, she is pro choice. End of story.

    July 13, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. Anthony Heyward

    How obvious, why not just pick Colin Powell, Herman Cain, or some other black person. Hey Mitt, the extreme wing of your party does not want Rice on the ticket and you know why. Cut the crap and just pick a white guy or gal so we can get to this November already. Obama is going to eat you alive at the debates, we've all seen how frazzled you get in debates and when your lying which is all the time.

    July 13, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. Sara Bean

    Condoleeza Rice or Marco Rubio . . . . if Romney chooses neither of the two, he'll be finished.

    July 13, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. BushTheThird?!?!?1

    What, the GOP wants the Bush era back so bad they're rehiring the staff? Seriously, fix the gap (smile!), pick someone who knows something (that you ahven't pushed away like Huntsman), and lose like a man. Then take everyone that voted for you out for an ice cream!

    July 13, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    This is just a cynical ploy by Repubs to try to split the black and women's votes. Like the GOP cares about anyone but white males? Give me a break!

    July 13, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  17. CanadaONE

    Rice is too smart to assoicate with the mitt – she knows it would be one of the her worst decisions – so she will pretend to support the GOP but would not touch the nit witt with a ten foot pole

    July 13, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. Bill Dee

    The exquisite irony in all of this, is that RICE is far more qualified to be President of the United States than Romney. It's a pity she couldn't be the Presidential GOP nominee with Romney as her VP.

    July 13, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. ST

    Whatever Romney chooses as VP that is his problem as it was for McCain. Myself I have to comment on Bain Capital. I have heard Romney campaign asking for an apology from Pres. Obama. What is that for? Have they come up with explanation and evidence that the claim was wrong? The answer is A BIG NO. Why then should Pres. Obama give an apology for? What is important now is Romney to come up clean and issue his Tax Returns even beyond 1999. He had enough time to prepare himself in joining the Presidential bid.

    July 13, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. Whatever

    Is not happening. Trust me is not happening.

    July 13, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  21. Lisa P

    Great - she could play piano for Ann Romney's dancing horse. Plus her war-monger flunky creds are all in order, and she has an oil tanker named after her. What more could a flip-flopping 1%-er want, or need, in a VP candidate? It wouldn't do to be overshadowed by your second-in-command...

    July 13, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  22. wolfpackbob

    "I love policy. I'm not particularly fond of politics." Ironically, that is precisely the kind of stateswoman we need. But she is a class act and she has already paid her dues. Wish her well.

    July 13, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. Wake up people

    Condi has about as much of a chance of this happening as I have of being president. She is nothing but a red herring. A mormon cult leader that believes brown skin is a curse and a womans sole job is to be subservient to a man would never have a black woman as VP. That said I hope he does choose her because he will definitely lose a lot of the old white man vote. They are already leery of him. Go ahead Mittens, put one of the war criminals on the ticket. Hail, hail, the gangs all here. First ole shoot em up Cheney, now Condi. Come out, come out wherever you are shrub! Your homies need you!!!

    OBAMA 2012!

    July 13, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. B.

    Rice is a – Bush baggage- problem, big time..

    July 13, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. DocHollywood

    I wouldn't be surprised. Instead of focusing on issues that affect women and blacks, Romney would rather go out and pander to them by picking a black woman. And while I personally like Rice, and think she's highly qualified, I think Romney would only consider her if he thought she could help him with blacks and women. Otherwise, he'd toss her under the bus also.

    July 13, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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