Sunday Times 2

US Presidential race: Will Condi be Romney’s running mate?

Former Secretary of State is top of shortlist for VP position

The buzz around Condoleezza Rice becoming Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential running mate has increased significantly after internet pioneer Matt Drudge reported that she is ‘near the top’ of his shortlist.

Mr. Romney could name his running mate as early as next week, significantly before the traditional time of just before the party convention in late August.

The next Vice President? Condoleezza Rice allegedly has a good chance of being Mitt Romney's running mate

He is widely expected to name a safe, unexciting figure in order to keep the focus of the election on President Barack Obama’s record.
Ms. Rice, President George W. Bush’s national security adviser for four years and then his Secretary of State, would be a stunning choice and fly in the face of almost everything Mr. Romney himself and his advisers have indicated they want in a running mate.
Mr. Drudge used his Drudge Report website to tease readers with an ‘exclusive’ story: ‘a surprise name is now near the top of the list: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice!’

He added: ‘It was Condi who received two standing ovations at Romney’s Utah retreat a few weeks ago, and everyone left with her name on their lips.’

The Stanford University professor has never run for office or faced anything like the intense personal scrutiny vice-presidential candidates have to go through. She has no domestic policy experience and has said he favours abortion rights – a position that would make her anathema to conservatives and some independent voters.

She is very closely associated with Mr. Bush and the unpopular Iraq war and has no executive experience. After the 2008 election, she hinted strongly that she voted for Mr. Obama rather than Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee.
Aged 57, Ms. Rice has never married and is seen as something of an introvert. She has repeatedly made clear over the years that she does not believe she is cut out for the rigours of a political campaign.

The floating of her name could well be a ploy to shift the subject of political conversation away from Mr. Romney’s record at Bain Capital, which is currently taking a hammering, and to appeal to women voters, who tend to lean Democratic. As a black woman, she would also have some appeal to minority voters and independents.

Presidential candidates often indicate they are considering unusual choices and almost always indicate that a woman or a minority is under consideration, in large part to placate different party and voting constituencies.
But Mr. Romney has strongly indicated he will go for a middle-aged white man with executive experience or a Washington track record that goes beyond foreign policy.

His advisers are determined to avoid repeating what they see as the mistake Mr. McCain made in 2008 when he gambled on an inexperienced female – Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska – as his running mate.

Ms. Palin’s inability to answer basic political questions in high-pressure interviews and the drip, drip of revelations from Alaska of events from her past that had escaped the notice of Mr. McCain’s vetters, who had only given her cursory consideration, bedevilled and divided his campaign.
Senator Rob Portman of Ohio and Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota, are considered the favourites.

Also very much in the running are Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, while Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida are much more likely picks than Ms. Rice.
Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico probably have a stronger chance than Ms. Rice. Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia are also frequently mentioned.

Senior Romney foreign policy advisers like John Bolton, Bush’s hardline ambassador to the UN, are highly sceptical about Ms. Rice’s abilities. The memoirs of Vice President Dick Cheney, who holds a fundraiser in Wyoming for Romney this week, and Donald Rumsfeld, depict her unfavourably.

Ms. Rice spoke to Romney donors at the Utah retreat last month and was well received. She later told CBS News: ‘I talked about the need for American leadership; I talked about the importance of the United States to a more peaceful world, a world that has been quite turbulent in recent years and needs a strong American anchor.

‘But I also talked about the essence of America, and perhaps that’s what people resonated with.’
In the same interview she dampened speculation that she might be Mr. Romney’s running mate: ‘I didn’t run for student council president. I don’t see myself in any way in elective office.’

She added: ‘I’m saying there is no way I will do this, because it’s really not me, I know my strengths. Governor Romney needs to find someone who wants to run with him. There are many people who will do it very, very well, and I’ll support the ticket.’
The news came as Mr. Obama apologised for not inspiring the public enough as president, telling CBS This Morning he regretted ‘thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right.’

© Daily Mail, London

Share This Post

comments powered by Disqus

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.