ABC News’ Teddy Davis and Sarah Baker Report: Grover Norquist, the anti-tax activist who leads an influential weekly meeting of conservatives, said Tuesday that Secretary of State Condi Rice is making the right moves if she wants to be Sen. John McCain’s, R-Ariz., vice presidential running mate.
"Is she campaigning for it? I don’t know," Norquist told the washingtonpost.com. "But if she is, she’s doing it the right way."
Norquist told The Post that Rice "would be "a great president." And, yes, a "great vice president."
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack sought to downplay Rice’s first visit to Norquist’s meeting by saying Monday: "if she’s actively seeking the vice presidency, then she’s the last one to know about it."
With the blessing from Norquist, Rice may be able to demonstrate to McCain that she has the support of not only national security conservatives but also economic conservatives.
Despite those assets, significant hurdles remain for Rice becoming the first female on a national Republican ticket.
Having previously indicated that she is somewhat supportive of abortion rights, a Rice pick may be hard for social conservatives to embrace.
With his own history of less than enthusiastic relations with religious conservatives, McCain may want a running mate with strong ties to values voters.
An additional hurdle to Rice joining the GOP ticket is that she could make it easier for Democrats to paint McCain as representing a continuation of President Bush’s policies. Rice, after all, has been a close Bush confidant throughout his presidency and she has been criticized for running an insular information flow in the run-up to the Iraq war when she served as National Security Advisor.
Senor, who backs Rice for VP, sought to rebut the claim that Rice is too close to Bush by saying that Democrats are going to make that argument anyway and that McCain is better off doubling down on the experience advantage that he enjoys over Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama.
Norquist, made his comments about Rice to The Sleuth, a washingtonpost.com column by Mary Ann Akers.