Should Mitt Romney Pick Condoleezza Rice to Be His VP?

The former secretary of state's name has floated to the top of the Republican candidate's vice presidential shortlist.

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On Thursday conservative website Drudge Report wrote that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was atop Republican candidate Mitt Romney's vice presidential shortlist. Drudge cited the Romney campaign's newly launched "Meet the VP" fundraising drive as an indication that a selection may be near.

Romney is expected to announce his choice before the Republican National Convention at the end of August, and lists of those being considering have been circulating widely as analysts and the media speculate the possibilities. Other names that have been mentioned include Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

If selected, Rice would face the unappealing task of following in Sarah Palin's footsteps. In 2008, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain selected the Alaska governor as his runningmate, but Palin quickly drew criticism (and countless Saturday Night Live spoofs) for her inexperience. It became clear she wasn't ready for the national political stage and ultimately caused more headaches than she was worth for the McCain campaign.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 campaign.]

Romney's wife Ann has said she would like to see a female nominee, but after Palin, many say that is an unlikely choice. Jennifer Lawless, director of American University's Women and Politics Institute told U.S. News's Rebekah Metzler :

Whoever Romney picks, if she's a woman, would have to first demonstrate how much better than Sarah Palin she actually is, and that's not necessarily a good use of the campaign's time.

Given the rhetoric regarding the 'war on women' and the fact that the Republicans are 'out of touch,' I think it's important for both parties to talk about how they actually care about women, women's plight, and think that women can be adequate leaders.

As a former secretary of state, Rice would provide Romney with foreign policy experience. Romney, a former governor as Massachusetts, has spent little time on the international stage and has not said much about his concrete foreign policy plans. The Republican has centered the focus of his campaign around the poor economy, although he is considering a foreign policy tour in the coming months.

[Read 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sarah Palin.]

Much is made of the vice presidential selection, although history shows it rarely makes much of a difference in the general election. Vice presidential candidates historically have little pull even in their home states, only providing their ticket with a boost of a few percentage points, if anything.

U.S. News's Robert Schlesinger says the VP search is often overblown anyways:

One Romney official acknowledges that "it's pretty hard to find a place where a VP selection in a cycle actually makes a difference." Another argues that because "it's the first big decision that a nonincumbent nominee makes," it does make a difference.

Schlesinger continues: "The political calculus, especially involving the 'local situation,' is a focus in the quadrennial Washington parlor game of guess-the-veep-nominee."

Rice was born in Alabama and also lived in Colorado, but because she never held a state-based office, her regional pull is likely to be even less than a candidate that served as a governor or in Congress.  

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