Mitt Romney won’t talk about his vice presidential pick and Condoleezza Rice flatly denies any interest. So why is someone in the Romney camp dropping a hint that Rice is, at the very least, being considered as a VP pick?
That hint wasn’t dropped by Romney’s top advisers, who are currently in a pitched messaging battle over health care reform.
It was Ann Romney, the candidate’s wife, who let the cat out of the bag during a joint television appearance with Mitt Romney on CBS This Morning.
Ann Romney was asked by CBS correspondent Jan Crawford if her husband should consider a woman as a running mate.
“We’ve been looking at that. And I’d love that option as well,” Ann Romney said. “There are a lot of people that Mitt is considering right now.”
If the Romney camp is evaluating women as vice presidential candidates, Rice could certainly be on that list. And she probably wouldn’t need to be extensively vetted, since she was confirmed as Secretary of State during the Bush administration.
New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte has been campaigning with Mitt Romney, and she is the only woman currently being talked about by the media as a potential vice presidential pick.
It is believed there are three main criteria for the Romney pick, at least for starters.
The candidate has to be someone with whom Romney is comfortable personally; it has to be someone who can be seen as able to act as president; and it has to be someone with national experience.
Ayotte was elected as a U.S. senator in 2010 and has 18 months of national experience. In that regard, Ayotte and Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio have been compared with Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee.
Other women who have been rumored VP candidates are Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington.
Martinez is not on the same page with Romney on immigration, while Haley faces issues within South Carolina.
McMorris Rodgers is a four-term representative and the fifth-ranking member of the GOP in Congress. She is also already on the Romney team as his liaison to the House.
But unlike Condoleezza Rice, McMorris Rodgers isn’t a household name.
Rice’s name popped into the vice presidential race after she was the star of Romney’s two-day fundraising event in June in Utah. The event featured key GOP figures and top donors.
Shortly after that event and several public appearances, Rice flatly denied any interest in elected office.
“I didn’t run for student council president. I don’t see myself in any way in elective office,” Rice told CBS last month.
But the timing of Rice’s public appearances, the tone of her speeches, and her involvement with a fundraising group had pundits speculating about Rice as a running mate.
Rice has considerable national and international experience as President George W. Bush’s Secretary of State.
Her foreign policy skills could also be useful as Syria lurks as a possible campaign issue for Romney and President Barack Obama.
The Republicans will formally nominate Romney in late August. The vice presidential pick could come earlier, and the Romney team has been researching candidates since April.
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