Condoleezza Rice: Possible Vice President Pick for Mitt Romney

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Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

There is renewed talk in political circles of Republican challenger Mitt Romney possibly leaning toward former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as his vice presidential running mate.

While this point in the campaign season is always filled with wild speculation about running mate choices, this rumor is considered to have more weight because it came from the Drudge Report, a popular site in “conservative” circles run by Matt Drudge, who is reportedly close friends with Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades. That means that either the campaign is seriously considering Rice, 57, or the campaign wants to see the public reaction to stories about Romney picking Rice.

The Drudge Report attributed the Rice pick to “sources” in the campaign. The Drudge item said Rice sent a fundraising email on behalf of Romney last night as part of the campaign’s “Meet the VP” drive, intended to encourage small-dollar donors to give money and possibly be chosen to meet Romney and his eventual running mate.

Romney said earlier this week during a speech in Grand Junction, Colo., “I can tell you…the person I choose, you will look at and say, well, that’s a person who could be president, if that were necessary…And that, for me, is the most important single criteria.”

One of Rice’s biggest assets—in addition to her foreign policy experience and her being a Black woman might cause problems for President Obama—is her extremely high favorable ratings among voters. A recent poll of Republicans in April found that Rice had the highest levels of support as a possible running mate of any other candidates. Twenty-six percent of the respondents picked her, compared with 21 percent for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and 14 percent for both New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. The poll showed Ms. Rice to have an approval rating of 80 percent.

“As a cold blooded political matter, you look at that kind of number and what she could do for me, and you have to be a little bit tempted if you were Mitt Romney,” said conservative commentator Bill Kristol.