National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice chats with Sen. Hillary Clinton on Capitol Hill before President George W. Bush’s address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 27, 2001. Might they be meeting this year on the campaign trail? | Kenneth Lamber
Updated: August 17, 2012 6:42AM
What do Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice have in common?
Both have first-rate political pedigrees. Both are among the boldest of boldface names. Both could knock the 2012 presidential race out of the box.
The vice presidential speculation machine kicked into overdrive Thursday night, via a report from Matt Drudge. The VP sweepstakes are heating up, he reports. The uber-Internet pundit wrote that Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican presidential nominee, has “just narrowed the field of candidates to a handful.”
Drudge’s sources tell him “a surprise name is now near the top of the list: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice!”
The Romney camp is not commenting, but the optics are marvelous. Rice, a GOP icon, served in two Bush White Houses, including stints as national security adviser and secretary of state. The Alabama native’s southern roots could help solidify the Romney base in the region and energize blase Republican voters.
The Romney campaign has been dropping hints about the female persuasion. Last week, Ann Romney told CBS News that her husband was considering a woman for the ticket, “and I love that option as well.”
Drudge has blue-chip sources in the GOP. His stuff is often on-target, starting way back to his sensational scoop about a notorious blue dress and a certain White House intern.
Drudge notes that “It was Condi who received two standing ovations at Romney’s Utah retreat a few weeks ago, and everyone left with her name on their lips.”
It could be a trial balloon, or spin to fuel the perception that women are being seriously considered by the Romney camp.
A Rice pick would certainly be off the chain for an ever-cautious, ever-traditional candidate like Romney. A Romney/Rice ticket is about as exciting as the Grand Old Party is going to get. The “wow” factor is undeniable, but President Barack Obama can wow Romney right back.
Here comes another chance to gleefully leap atop my favorite soap box: Obama should engineer a job switch between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden. Biden globetrots away as secretary of state in Obama’s second term. As vice president, Clinton would be exquisitely positioned as a first-tier presidential candidate in 2016.
The punditry pooh-poohs the idea as unrealistic and unnecessary. A switch would look desperate, they chatter. Obama needs Biden in his attack-dog role and to help corral blue-collar male voters. They’re wrong. In a campaign, no one has sharper teeth than Hillary Clinton. Just ask Barack Obama.
Female voters are the deciders at home and at the polls. Their vote will be pivotal. The job switch would energize Democratic and independent voters and pump up turnout.
If Rice lands on the Nov. 6 ballot, she better move over. Clinton will be joining the party.
Go ahead, Mitt Romney. Make my day.