Speculation as to who presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will choose as his running mate has gone into overdrive as the Tampa convention at the end of August draws closer, and one familiar name is said to top the list: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
According to an exclusive story on conservative website Drudge Report Rice is the front runner for Romney's vice president pick. Romney's campaign has neither confirmed nor denied the story. They have remained tight-lipped about the vice president candidate, but the report has definitely thickened the suspense because there is a close relationship between Romney's campaign manager Matt Rhoades and Matt Drudge.
Romney also recently launched Meet Mitt's Choice For VP on his website, stating that sometime soon he will be announcing his choice for vice president.
Romney also told a crowd in Colorado earlier this week, about his eventual choice, 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. (See video below.)
Rice An Asset To Romney
Rice, 57, has much that could be an asset for Romney in the upcoming election. Including her on the ticket could guarantee an appeal with women and black Americans. two constituencies with which Romney has had trouble connecting. And like current Vice President Joe Biden, Rice comes with a lot of foreign policy experience.
Still, and as late as June 26, Rice said that her ambition isn't to be vice president, because she is not experienced in, or inclined to, electioneering: I didn't run for student council president. I don't see myself in any way in elective office, she told CBS This Morning.
Rice made it clear that she loves policy but is not too fond of politics. She also said Romney would end up making a great choice for vice president because he has terrific judgment.
I am saying there is no way that I will do this because it's really not me, Rice added. There are many people who will do it very, very well and I will support the ticket. That's a 'It's not going to happen' and 'No.'
Should Rice be chosen though, a major talking point for the Obama camp could be her Bush connections, which could be used to paint her as tied to an administration that started two unpopular wars.
Making The Rounds On The Fundraising Scene
Rice was in the political spotlight anyway last month, when she headlined a Washington fundraiser to raise money for Republican female politicians.
Couple that with information Drudge Report received that she emailed supporters in recent days stating, 2012 is perhaps a turning point for the United States, and that could make it seem like she is reconsidering and is ready.
The rest of the email, according to Drudge Report, read:
The upcoming elections loom as one of the most important in my life, she warned. I'm very often asked to speak about our current foreign policy and the challenges that lie before us. However, we, as a country, are not going to be able to address any of those international challenges unless we first get our domestic house in order.
Here's the speech that reportedly helped thrust Rice to the top of the list.
But Who Else Is There?
Though Rice may be the top name on Romney's list, there are many others whose names have been floating around as ripe for the picking.
Other traditional picks such as Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty have been creating buzz for months. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has also been confirmed as being vetted for the possible second-in-command spot.
Rounding out the list of Romney's potential pick are reportedly three women: New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.