The Drudge Report, the conservative website, reports Thursday night that there is a new frontrunner to be Mitt Romney’s running mate: Condoleezza Rice.
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 and is now a professor at Stanford University, is on vacation this weekend, according to her spokesperson. 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 this weekend about how some conservatives view Rice favorably because she’s the “anti-Palin” and then Bill Kristol predicted that she is a front-runner, because Ann Romney told CBS that they are considering a woman vice presidential candidate.
Rice has repeatedly, steadfastly maintained that she not only doesn’t want to be VP, she doesn’t want to run for any elected office. But maybe she is changing her mind, or maybe she is being “drafted” into considering it?
A spokesperson for the Former Secretary of State tells ABC News that Rice’s previous statements denying interest in being Romney’s Vice Presidential pick stand.
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 immigration, Rice has given speeches over the last year, publicly lamenting that the Bush administration couldn’t get immigration reformed passed. Her favorite talking point? “When did immigrants become the enemy?”
On abortion, she is well to the left of Romney, who in mid-life turned against abortion rights.
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. … 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.”
Article has been edited to reflect Rice’s “mildly pro-choice” comments on abortion were originally published in an interview with The Washington Times.