VP Condi? Is Condoleezza Rice really on Romney’s shortlist?

Chris Moody
Political Reporter
The Ticket

The Drudge Report ran a blaring headline late Thursday night reporting that sources within Mitt Romney's presidential campaign say Condoleezza Rice, who served as secretary of state and national security adviser under President George W. Bush, is a "front-runner" for the running mate slot.

Matt Drudge, the founder of the site, has close ties to members of Romney's inner circle and runs one of the most popular news aggregation sites on the Web. For the past few days, President Barack Obama's campaign has hammered Romney by questioning his business record at Bain Capital—one top Obama aide even went as far as suggesting Romney could be a felon—so it's not surprising that Romney would want to change the conversation to speculation about his vice presidential choice. The question remains, however: Is Romney actually considering Rice, or is the "leak" just a distraction?

[Related: Romney-who? VP contenders have low name recognition]

If you take Rice's word as truth, it's the latter.

"There is no way that I will do this," Rice told CBS News just last month when asked if she would serve as Romney's vice president. "I know my strengths, and Gov. Romney needs to find someone who wants to run with him."

Of course, despite Rice's words of protest, that doesn't mean Romney isn't considering her on his end. But choosing her could prove problematic, for a variety of reasons.

First, as many on the right point out, Rice supports keeping abortion legal, making her a tough sell with social conservatives.

Also, adding Rice to the ticket would make her an easy target for Democrats by pointing out her ties to the Bush administration, where she served for both terms.

On the other hand, Rice is known for her ability to excite Republican crowds and as an African-American woman, she would offer a level of diversity to Romney's team.

Regardless of whom he chooses, it is clear that Romney is working to build hype before the announcement. On the same night the Rice story was released, Romney's campaign sent supporters an email with the subject line "Mitt's VP," which included an offer to win a chance to meet the new duo after the ticket is finalized.