*Here’s a late-in-the-game curveball for Mitt Romney’s vice presidential sweepstakes: the possibility of former Bush administration National Security Advisor / Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice serving as Mitt’s running mate. According to Drudge (so take that with a pretzel-sized amount of salt) Rice is currently the front-runner.
It would certainly be a bold choice for Romney. The description of Rice as the “Anti-Palin” seems apt; Rice has decades of international-relations experience and a long career in government, where Palin had next to none. She’s capable of holding her own in public forums, and has been an affable and engaging media personality (witness her rather amusing cameo on 30 Rock here), without the awkwardness and faux-folksiness that dooms all of the former Alaska governor’s own media appearances.
Rice would certainly prove to be a formidable opponent to the prone-to-gaffes Joe Biden in the Vice Presidential debate, and would also be a reliable answer to any attacks on Romney’s lack of foreign policy experience. That’s not including the whole “groundbreaking” part of her selection; selecting Rice would, of course, bring an African-American female into the upper echelons of the Republican administration – two groups that don’t exactly spring to mind when the image of the average GOP’er is conjured up in the mind.
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Of course, there’s a gigantic, Texas-sized downside to bringing Rice into the veep race. Just getting endorsements from anyone associated with the Bush White House could come off as toxic to a race; inviting someone who had been so intimately involved in one of the least-popular administrations in American history to serve as the number-two in a new cabinet could be downright catastrophic for Romney’s chances.
Bringing Rice into the fold would open up a whole new re-examination of her role in the Bush presidency, not something the Romney campaign would like to revisit in this upcoming election. So don’t count on it happening; expect the Republican candidate to select from one of the interchangeable slate of safe, Midwest picks (Rob Portman, Tim Pawlenty) during the leadup to the conventions and elections. It’s the lowest-risk, highest-reward option for him.