July 13th, 2012
09:53 AM ET
10 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. Fair is Fair


    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!
    No matter who Romney chooses, the rabid left will voice their disgusting opinion... if it's Condi Rice, she'd be called a "token"... if it was Rubio, he wouldn't be "Latino enough"... if it's Portman, he'd be "pale, stale, and male". So give ME a break.

    July 13, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. Jack

    Sure. The woman who sent us into Iraq, a completely unnecessary war. I've said this many tmes: Who was Iran's number 1 enemy? Answwer: Iraq. By removing Iraq we strengthened Iran. Iraq was a paper tiger. Condi, Rumsefeld, Cheney & Bush sat around patting themselves ont he back for taken down Iraq. Iraq needed to pretend it was tough because it's enemy was Iran. All pretense and most of us (the "uninformed") knew this. Why didn't Condi et al?

    July 13, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. JohnW

    Well, she would be an interesting choice for sure. Plus, she's the only one in the group that could possibly give Biden a run for his money in a debate. All the others are pretty lackluster. Realistically, though, do you want a running mate that would be better suited to the job than you are yourself? I don't think so, so it's pretty unlikely Romney would choose her.

    July 13, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. brooke

    Rice is one of my favorite political people. As a woman, I admire and look up to her, someone I have a lot of respect for.

    July 13, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. Jules

    No gonna happen – Condi Rice is too smart to get invovled in this mess.

    July 13, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. Jules

    The pick would sure bring the George Bush Admin front and center and don't suspect the GOP wants that.

    July 13, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |

    I respect the sister, but no way in hell. "BIN LADEN DETERMINED TO STRIKE IN U.S." Yeah, that happened under her watch.

    July 13, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. CNN The Masters of Spin

    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.

    July 13, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. 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. Weak. Romney needs to show a strong hand. Zero doubt in my mind Rubio trumps Obama.

    July 13, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. TAK

    Getting a "two-fer" like Rice on the ticket would be a smart move for Romney as she would appeal to blacks and women. Although most agree that Rice was way out of her league as Sec State, I would still seriously consider voting for Romney if he made her his running mate. She is far more qualified to be VP, and more fundamentally honest, than people like Christie, Jindal, Palin, Santorum, or that Bachmann person.

    July 13, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Naturally it would have nothing to do with the fact that she is black and female. There is not a single Republican in the entire planet more suited to become President than Ms Rice. Not a Senator, not a Congressman, not a Governor nor any member of the Judicial body more qualified than Ms Rice. Even if that is not the truth, that is the way Mitt will spin it. Just to try and get blacks and females to believe that Republicans care about them, not that they do at all.

    Then, on the outside chance Mitt wins, they will pack her away in a closet, trot her out and dust her off for the occasional photo op and pray that nothing happens to Romney.

    July 13, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Yakobi

    Rice would be a wonderful pick. She's already vetted, too.

    July 13, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Brian

    This would be all the proof you need that Mitt wants to take America back to the failed policies of 2000-2008

    July 13, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Uncle Lindy

    Rice is simply the best qualified, the smartest, the most experienced...

    I believe that Romney will try to get her to accept because he wants the best around him....no matter about color, gender, or other.

    I hope she will be the choice...

    July 13, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Out of the people on the short list for VP Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice! is the most QUALIFIED. President George W. Bush's national security adviser and then as secretary of state from 2005 to 2009 Rice would be a great choice.

    July 13, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. Robert

    Rice is smarter than that.

    July 13, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. The Elephant In The Room

    She is FAR MORE QUALIFEIED than Sarah Palin could ever be . . . even if she had served as VP for 8 years. However, the appearance of Romney having considered a highly credentialed,black, woman still does nothing to demonstate he has a sound plan for the economy. Mr. Romney didn`t learn any skills as a corporate raider that are pertinent to being President.

    American workers will not elect Gordon Gekko / Richie Rich.

    July 13, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. lolo

    Pandering for the black vote I see. It will never happen. The cheshire cat is in deep and doesn't know what to do. The repugs can spin Bain all they want, but it will not be bought by America. Mittens is a big liar from day one. Mr. Money bags is trying to buy this election, no ifs, ands about it. Wake up America.

    July 13, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. sbssue1

    I think if you look hard in your back pocket, we all have some baggage, but I would rather have her baggage than that of others! You are all jealous of her extreme intelligence, and that's what's wrong with our country today.......she made something of herself. A beautiful person inside and out.

    July 13, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  20. Newmoon2

    Great! Mohammar Gadaffi's favorite squeeze! LMAO! Just like John McCain thought Sarah Palin would make women vote for him, Romney thinks he'll get traction with women and blacks through Rice. Not bloody likely! Neither demographic is THAT stupid.

    July 13, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. zip

    Does the average American realize what the Book of Mormon says about black people? Do your own research. Condi Rice has too much integrity to ever serve with a Mormon.

    July 13, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Obamacare = Obama cares about the young, elderly, poor and disabled. Romneycare = "I don't care about the poor"! Repeal? Replace? With What

    While Rice would be a good pick as she is more experienced and intelligent, than Mittens, and could bring in more independents and women, however, she would drive pro-lifers, the core of the GOP base, to stay home.

    As to her not taking the position, she is a politician, if offered she will take it, and fall back on the GOP mantra of "serving the country when called", blah, blah blah

    All in all, a wash.

    July 13, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  23. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Sarah Palin has more vision than Rice! At least she can see Russia!

    July 13, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  24. adinfinitum7

    Romney should pick Rice but he won't of course. First, he could never have a VP that is smarter and more experienced than he is. Second, she is black after all. And being "mildly pro-choice" finishes it. On the other hand Sarah Palin likes the idea so it must be good – right?

    July 13, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  25. Madrep

    The Dems voted for the WMD issue in Iraq too, or did the Dems forget that minor detail? If Condi is chosen and accepts the VP run, it's a slam dunk for all your Liar in Chief's hopes of 4 more.

    July 13, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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