Republican strategist Dan Senor said Sunday that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is “actively” pushing for John McCain to pick her as his running mate. When asked about the report, McCain said Rice was a “great American,” but that he didn’t know of any indications that Rice was interested in the job. “I must have missed those signals,” McCain said. (The New York Times, free registration) A spokesman for Rice, who has said she wasn’t interested in being vice president, laughed when asked about the story. “I don’t know how many ways she can say no,” said spokesman Sean McCormack. (MSNBC)
What the commentators said
“Oh, please; oh, please; oh, please,” said Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post (free registration). “I know it's undignified to beg, but please” let McCain pick Condi. I know Rice’s “mildly pro-choice” views make her an unlikely selection for a candidate already having trouble with conservatives. But her “relative youth, undeniable pizzazz and photogenic diversity” would energize McCain’s campaign. And introducing “another controversial, larger-than-life character” into the fray will raise McCain’s “big wager on Iraq” and take us “further into terra incognita on issues of race and gender.”
If the rumors are true, and Rice really wants the job, said Jane Ridley in the New York Daily News, “the "real Condi" will have to stand up whether she likes it or not.” During her seven years in the White House, as national security adviser and then secretary of state, “the most powerful woman in America has steadfastly remained an enigma.” You have to wonder whether Rice really wants to remain in the “goldfish bowl of public office,” or whether she really yearns for a return to anonymity.
“I'm a fan of Secretary Rice,” said Jim Geraghty in National Review Online’s The Campaign Spot blog, “but there are a lot of reasons to doubt we'll see her on the Republican ticket.” Rice has pretty good approval ratings, which is “a plus,” but she’s been President Bush’s “right-hand woman” for eight years, so she’s not the right running mate to choose in an election about “change.” And if McCain wants someone with foreign policy experience, there are options, such as Colin Powell and Gen. David Petraeus, “that add a lot more electorally.”
“On the surface, Rice makes a lot of sense,” said Rick Moran in The American Thinker blog. She would “blunt” Barack Obama’s edge among African Americans, and Hillary Clinton’s among women. But she’s not a “particularly inspiring speaker,” and McCain will need someone aggressive to hammer his Democratic opponent so he can “remain above the fray.”
Nobody has a clue whether Rice is really interested in the job, said Matt Lewis in Townhall.com. So far, this whole story is nothing but “pure conjecture” being whipped up by a GOP strategist. But rumors can trigger a media feeding frenzy in an election year. “The truth often doesn't make for as good a story.”