Despite the Drudge Report’s article Thursday night reporting that Condoleezza Rice is the new frontrunner to be Mitt Romney’s running mate, a spokesperson for the former secretary of state tells ABC News she is still not interested in the job.
In an email the spokesperson said that Rice, who is on vacation, has no plans to comment specifically on the Drudge Report article, but that all of her previous statements denying interest in being Romney’s vice presidential pick “still stand.”
The Romney campaign has not commented on the report. Drudge has long appeared supportive of the Romney campaign and there are ties between the site’s founder, Matt Drudge, and Romney staffers.
Rice, who was secretary of state under President George W. Bush, is now a professor at Stanford University. But there has been more and more buzz about this on the blogosphere and at some news outlets. The Washington Post published an op-ed last weekend about how some conservatives view Rice favorably because she’s the “anti-Palin.” Conservative commentator and editor of The Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol, continued to stoke the fire by predicting that Rice is a front-runner, due in large part to a CBS interview Ann Romney gave when she said the campaign is considering a woman running mate.
For her part Rice has repeatedly and consistently maintained that she not only doesn’t want to be VP, she doesn’t want to run for any elected office.
A sample of those denials came in an interview with CBS News on June 26.
“There is no way I would do this.”
“I didn’t run for student council president. I don’t see myself in any way in elected office. I love policy. I’m not particularly fond of politics.”
Also, there’s the question of her policies. While she has the foreign policy experience to complement Romney, some of her domestic positions could be an issue.
On abortion, she is well to the left of Romney, who in mid-life turned against abortion rights, and has repeatedly said he would not consider a pro-choice candidate for his running mate.
In an expansive 2005 interview with The Washington Times, Rice described herself as “mildly pro-choice.” She expanded on that position during an interview with CBS New’s 60 Minutes in 2008.
“I myself am someone who believes strongly in parental notification,” Rice said. “I’m against late-term abortion, which is, I think, really very cruel.” But she said she’s not for overturning Roe V. Wade. “I have not wanted to see the law changed because it’s an area that I worry about the government being involved in.”
While she has previously endorsed Romney, Rice has not, like other potential vice presidential picks, campaigned with him. She has been the featured speaker at a few fundraisers and has given rousing speeches at closed events, but she’s hardly been an attack dog against the Obama administration. Rice has focused more on why she likes Romney in interviews. Her statements of public criticism of the president have been intellectual and thoughtful, rather than emotionally-charged like other potential VP picks.
Here’s what she told Greta Van Susteren last month on Fox about President Obama:
“I think when people talk about leading from behind which is a kind of oxymoron, you’re seeing some of that,” she said. “The United States, the only thing the world hates more than unilateral American leadership is an absence of American leadership, because the international system is a system. It has certain rules, power relationships, and people respond to those. If the United States is not setting that agenda, then someone else will, and that might be a country that doesn’t believe in free markets and free peoples.”