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. Kay

    I guess he's going to overturn Roe V. Wade, too? Why does his VP pick have to agree with him on abortion? The VP doesn't make any policy decisions. he or she is only there in case something happens to the President, and to appear at functions.

    July 13, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. Jenny Rome Ga

    DO NOT COMPARE THIS INTELLIGENT CAPABLE WOMAN TO SARAH PALIN> Sorry for the yell but there is a big difference between MS Palin and Ms Rice. One is capable of leading this country if needed. The other cannot even finish one term as governor.. It is an interesting choice. I would love to see a Powell/Rice or visa verse ticket myself. Of course the fact that she may be more qualified than either Presidential candidate may be a problem.

    July 13, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. GOP = Greed Over People

    Mittens wants to be the party puppet so bad, that he could overcome the Mormon teachings that folks of color are inferior.

    In his view, she could be useful for getting his coffee

    July 13, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. derp

    Well they would certainly qualify for the most incredibly boring duo to ever run for an elected offiice

    Captain Yawn and his sidekick Comaliza.

    Has a nice ring to it.

    July 13, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. Steve Fielder

    Condoleeza Rice? Please.......

    Condi Rice is a former Chevron executive with an oil tanker named in her honor. She's also one of the co-conspirators who helped cook up the Iraq War. As a Democrat, I hope Romney is foolish enough to link himself to the Bush Administration by putting one of its operatives on his ticket.

    July 13, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Four and The Door

    Condoleezza Rice is a brilliant woman and Romney/ Rice would be an excellent team. Besides have an A Team capability on both Economics and Policy, this would be a stark contrast with the Obama Administration in that Romney/ Rice would be a team to do the work of a nation as opposed to the work of politics. Clean up Washington
    Not even YOU believe what you're saying.
    You have a Party that is disintegrating, desperate, and dysfunctional.

    July 13, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. lies from obama(and mabye his father)

    Whoever Romney VPs, they will still do better than Obummer/Bumblin. Romney12!

    July 13, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. Christina34

    Now we can have to GOPers quoting, "I'm not a crook." Geesh...Condi got away by the skin of her nails from being a war criminal, but then look at the felon Romney is turning out to be over his lies about Bain. ROFL!

    July 13, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. derp

    Well they would certainly qualify for the most incredibly boring duo to ever run for an elected offiice

    Captain yawn and his sidekick Coma-leezza.

    Has a nice ring to it.

    July 13, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. Ol' Lefty

    It's going to be someone like Portman or T-paw. Boring white guys, because Willard knows that any of those getting the press tingly would over shadow him on the campaign trail.

    July 13, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. SafeJourney

    Condi already said NO

    July 13, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. Craig

    She better get a husband quick or persistent rumors will keep her off the ticket.

    July 13, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. Joe

    That would sew up my vote for Mitt. I wanted Condoleeza to run for President, but VP would definitly make my decision on voting for this team. She is a very smart woman and has a proven track record. This would be an awsome team !!!!

    July 13, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  14. Independent For President Obama

    @zip; I wish the media would do their job and vet the mormons. I can not see any black person voting for Romney because he thinks blacks are animals or sub human.

    July 13, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. Objectivist5

    Persoanlly I'd vote for Rice for president. Don't think Romney will pick her though. She would upstage him by miles. She's smarter and more seasoned. Just my opinion, thanks.

    July 13, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. The GOP need to pack up and leave

    They want one of the Bushies as VP? It's utter proof that the GOP hates America.

    July 13, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. Jerry

    I am a life-long Democrat, but she (Ms. Rice) would be a fresh breath of air and dignity compared to what we have now (both the president and vice president.) As a matter of fact, she has more experience than the two clueless/divisive bozos at the head of the Democratic ticket.

    If she is being betted for the Republican VP position (which I hope is correct), I REALLY, REALLY hope she will give it some serious consideration.

    Of course, some racist/pro Obama Blacks and others will crucify her, but I opine that she would be good for our country. Besides, she's one tough/knowledgeable/gracious lady.

    Even Oprah may consider supporting her candidacy. (At least, I HOPE.)

    July 13, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. RS

    Condi would be a good choice, not because she's African-American and a female. But she's incredibly bright, intelligent and has her act together. Though the aforementioned attributes wouldn't hurt in gaining the African-American/female vote. Rice is bright enough to not get involved with another Bush like candidate. Therefore, if Rice is offerred to be the VP (Candidate), I believe she'll turn it down. Also, Rice probably has aspirations to run for president one day. She might think going the Romney path might hurt those aspirations later on. I think she is very logical and methodically in here though process. As well as, she seems to apply critical thinking when considerring something. Some might dispute that, but you have to remember that she gave her input on matters. And didn't always have the final say so when it came to many decisions.

    July 13, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. drake mallard

    Why keep trotting out this Marco Rubio=Anchor Baby character? He has
    nothing to say and basically no one gives =Running on Empty aka joke

    July 13, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. Investment Advisor

    @Gloria....While you are LOLing, I'm curious why Romney would be dead in the water and lose big time? Must be some rational thought behind the prediction. Just trying to understand.

    July 13, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    We might all have baggage, but we're not all being considered for the VP spot. So I would say in HER case her political baggage and previous "affiliations" (Bush, Cheney, and setting-up beloved Colin Powell) combined with Romneys' natural charisma (choke) and predisposition to lying and flip-flopping add up to a masive loss for The GOP in November.
    This works out just fine for those of us that love our country and want to move it FORWARD.
    Obama 2012.

    July 13, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  22. Laura, Boston

    I would love to see the vp debate if she accepts the position. She would make mincemeat of Joe Biden. Heck even a lightweight like Sarah Palin clearly won against Biden. Condi Rice could take on Biden blindfolded. Hey she probably wouldn't need a telepromper.

    July 13, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. James

    At least she is smart.

    July 13, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  24. PHIL TJ

    I like my sister but she should not enter in this mess, despie, she played a big role in Irag war.

    July 13, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  25. southernwonder

    rice was the liar-in-chief of the liar-brigade in the bush administration that misled us into that iraq war which has meant a huge loss of lives and drain on our treasury at a time we could not afford.
    sure, she is smart. but what should count most is the character and there is a huge cloud over her on that score.

    romeny has kept bush away. rice will make iraq war a huge political issue. besides, she has never ran for a public office; we don't need romeny to appoint a czar for v.p.

    July 13, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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