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. AmericanSam

    This would actually be a smart choice, but I'm very skeptical that he would make this choice.

    July 13, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. Don in Milwaukee

    Drudge Report has as much value as the National Enquirer!

    July 13, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. Evangenital

    She needs to burn the warts on her face and close the gap between her teeth so that the lies won't come out.

    July 13, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. curious

    Here we go again. Let's fool them with a black faced women. She makes us look like less a racists and anti- women. I know Rice would get Clarence Thomas' vote.

    July 13, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)

    Does Willard think the AA voters would vote for Herb Cain? Condi is a female Cain; nice try. Insulting as usual.

    July 13, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. Core republican Values

    She's totally unacceptable. She supports a women's right to chose. This has no place in the republican party.

    July 13, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  7. Evangenital

    They both lie and not very well.

    July 13, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. Gotta Be Kiddin

    I'm a black woman and this does not improve Romney's chances of my voting for him at all!

    July 13, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. Core republican Values

    zip – You're joking right? She served with Bush. What kind of integrity can she possibly have?

    July 13, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. Aaron

    Condi has a great life now... she is teaching (something she is passionate about), speaks every so often and is enjoying the rest of her life. I personally like Condi and would not want to see her destroy herself with this off shore monster.

    July 13, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. mark

    I do not know why people would be falling for this ruse – Rice made clear long ago she had no interest before and it does not appear her stance has changed; she has returned to academia and I recall her saying it was where she preferred to be – so floating her name might just be a red herring.

    July 13, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. cali girl

    I think it would be a bad move. They do not have anything in common. I think she is very far right, and he is trying to jump between that side and being moderate. Ya know, the flip flopper at his best.

    July 13, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. sqeptiq

    Another reminder of Bush??? Even Romney's team isn't THAT stupid.

    July 13, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Of course. The mistake McCain made was to pick a white woman to try to equalize Obama's blackness by acquiring the gender trump card. Mittens obviously needs to go one better and neutralize Obama's blackness AND acquire the gender trump card. Clearly, women around the country won't mind attenuation of their access to contraceptives and right to choose, defunding of one of th emain sources fo breast exams in the country and invasive, forced internal ultrasounds if they can just get a woman into the VP slot. It's brlliant! "Haha, President Darky...we gots ourselves a darky now too...and it's got a hoohoo!!! Trump that!!!"

    July 13, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    BTW, she said "absolutely not." Is she going to prove herself a flip-flopper too?

    July 13, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "but truth is 75% of USA are Conservative"

    Loosen the chinstrap on that tinfoil hat there, junior...you're cutting off yoru oxygen.

    July 13, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  17. Justice6666

    The Republican VP candidate should be from the South, so Newt Gingrich is a possibility, but a better choice is ex-governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, who chaired the Republican National Committee from 1993 to 1997. Barbour proved that he adheres to the core Republican value of watching out for your friends by giving pardons or early releases to nearly 200 people, including more than two dozen whose crimes were murder, manslaughter, or homicide. A true Republican hero.

    The choice is clear: Romney/Barbour 2012

    July 13, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. CaliforniaBC

    She's too cerebral for the current GOP.

    July 13, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. dog1

    If she's it you'll see alot more dead American service men and women and a few trillion more tax dollars wasted. Of course if you're a rich kid you never have to worry about getting killed over there. It's guaranteed she'll get us into some more wars for big oil and arms manufacturer profits. Wonder if she made as much money off of Iraq as Cheney and Bush did?

    July 13, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. george_w_tush

    Condoleezza Rice story is a planted diversion to change subject from Bain. No way Romney will pick a pro-choice, pro-affirmative action VP

    Blind trust = what you need to vote for Mitt Romney

    July 13, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  21. v_mag

    Bring her on! Condi has so much garbage in her background that she will bring Rob-money down like Palin did McCain. It will be even easier for folks to understand that Romney = Bush with W's SoS as VP. She's an integral part of the Bush Crime Family.

    July 13, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  22. Marry

    Condoleezza Rice is just as Carl Rowe and Dick Cheney a very smart person – nobody doubts that.
    But she is also like many others in the GOP a very evil person, void of any ethical thinking that grabbed the chance to be “important”. Because of her greed and power-hungry personality she aided and justified decisions that cost thousands their live, their health, their families, their friends, their sanity, their homes…and the list what was done with her help in the Bush Administration to people is long! People really forget so fast??? Everyone can see – the same principles that governed the Bush Administration are with Romney back again. It is shameful that they even try…

    July 13, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. Sane

    I thought the Mormon Jesus was Romney's running mate. It won't make a difference who the pick is cause the guy is unelectable.

    July 13, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. ProProgress

    Romney could get St Peter to be his running mate and I still wouldn't vote for him. Anyone but a conservative. Besides, I suspect St Peter is a Liberal.

    July 13, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. Kenneth

    Not surprised ... GOP has to give the appearance of not being racially biased. However considering how they "used" Michael Steel and Herman Cain their transparent efforts "should" fall on deaf ears. Anyone who would consider this choice anything other than political grand standing has go to be severely mentally challenged. Don't get me wrong I like Condolezza to some degree but not as a political tool for Mitt Romney. if asked I would hope that she declines the offer.

    July 13, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
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