Condoleezza Rice speech stirs some vice presidential talk

Condoleezza Rice isn’t usually mentioned as a top vice presidential choice for Mitt Romney, but she apparently turned heads at a highly publicized Romney campaign summit in Utah last weekend.

Condoleezza Rice

Reporters camped out in Park City, UTah, looking to see which of prospective candidates appeared at the two-day event that featured Romney’s team, a lot of big-spending campaign donors and a few vice presidential candidates.

The two men who are rumored to leading the race for the vice presidential slot were in Park City: Tim Pawlenty and Rob Portman. Also in attendance were John Thune and Bobby Jindal.

Marco Rubio was not at the event.

But according to at least two media reports, it was former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who stole the show as the lunchtime speaker on Saturday.

Philip Rucker of the Washington Post said Rice generated the most buzz with an impassioned speech about returning the United States to its role as a world leader – which is also the tone of Romney’s campaign.

“Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivered a 15-minute luncheon speech on foreign and domestic policy Saturday that donors described as electrifying and had attendees on their feet twice,” said Rucker. “One donor said Rice was ‘the star of the show,’ while another said that, if it was a vice presidential tryout, ‘she hit it out of the park.’”

ABC News also said Rice got rave reviews for her speech.

“Many of those same attendees said the star speaker of the weekend was former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who received a standing ovation.  Charles Cobb, who served as ambassador to Iceland from 1989 to 1992, said Rice was ‘spectacular’ and described her as a ‘very bright, sophisticated, articulate lady,’” said ABC News.

Rice has said in the past that she’s not interested in the vice presidential spot on the Romney ticket and she is rarely mentioned as a possible running mate.

But Rice’s appearance at the Romney event and at an upcoming event at ShePAC tonight are signs the former Bush cabinet member can be a factor in the upcoming campaign, at least as a dynamic speaker and advocate for the Romney ticket

Rice, 57, would certainly bring a different factor to the Romney ticket, as an African-American woman from California. She also has a foreign policy background and high-level cabinet experience.

Pawlenty is now seen by some as having the inside track to the vice presidential nomination with Portman running a close second.

Marco Rubio is another contender who has gathered a lot of buzz, but the senator from Florida took a hit last week as his stance on immigration policy seemed to differ in some ways from Romney’s.

The vice presidential candidate process is a closely guarded secret in the Romney camp, and the choice may not be announced until mid-August.

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