A few weeks ago I bounced the idea off the audience that Mitt Romney might be seriously considering former Secretary of State Condi Rice as his running mate. While Rice certainly would not be the choice of social conservatives, she would bring considerable foreign policy strength to Romney’s camp. It’s hard to imagine any fair-minded observer looking at the economic heavyweight of Romney and the foreign policy heavyweight of Rice and comparing them unfavorably to the two lightweights on the other side.
Of course, when we first entertained that notion, it was mere speculation following Rice’s powerful and impressive performance at the Romney policy retreat. She turned quite a few heads with her strong articulation of the importance that America reassert herself as a world leader. Now, it appears that there may be something to it:
Here's a clue to what Mitt Romney thinks—a clue that McPike doesn't mention, and that the media in general seem to be glossing over. Ann Romney—who presumably is better informed about her husband's thinking than the rest of us—said this week, "We've been looking at [picking a woman], and I love that option as well."
Who's the woman? It could be Kelly Ayotte or New Mexico governor Susana Martinez. But as much as I like both of them, I suspect Mitt Romney will see them as risky picks, lacking sufficient high-level government experience to unequivocally answer the question of whether they'd be qualified to take over. No, the woman Ann Romney likely has in mind is Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state.
Rice wowed the crowd—and seemed to impress Mitt Romney, who was standing beside her—when she spoke in a featured role at a Romney campaign event two weeks ago in Park City, Utah. Rice is qualified, would be a poised (if novice) candidate, and would complement Romney in terms of area of expertise, gender (obviously!), and life experience. Rice offers an unusual combination of being at once a reassuring pick (she served at the highest levels of the federal government for eight years) and an exciting one.
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In other words, Rice’s expertise and qualifications prevent any concern of the media attempting to Palinize her. That’s not to say that they won’t attack her, but it won’t be in the same way. The fact that she’s a woman, and a minority – in fact, the highest ranking black woman in the history of the country – will make it decidedly more difficult for them to do so. Oh, and not to mention that when they attacked Palin they were able to begin with a clean slate – a woman who was unknown. Rice – known and liked. Very well liked:
What's more, while the other VP possibilities have decent but middling favorable/unfavorable ratings (and are mostly unknown), Rice's favorable/unfavorable, according to a Rasmussen poll a couple of months ago, is a pretty staggering 66-24.
It’s true that Rice has denied interest. In fact, she’s flat out said she’s not going to do it. And while I’m inclined to believe her when she says it, I can’t disagree with Bill Kristol who points out that Dick Cheney was saying the exact same thing at this point in 2000. And he was in decidedly worse health than Rice.
Again, the pick would not thrill social conservatives. But I’m doubtful that Romney is overly concerned with losing social conservatives to the most radically pro-abortion, pro-sexual anarchy president the nation has ever known. It’s an intriguing possibility – if for no other reason, it would be hilarious to watch the liberals try to figure out how they want to attack her.