Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Is Condi Rice signaling an interest in being McCain's VP?

Steve Clemons in Washington Note reports today that Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice spoke this morning at Grover Norquist's gathering of conservative political organizations at the Americans for Tax Reform, a move he is told may signal an interest in future Republican politics.
As one major Republican operative told me yesterday:
Someone like Condi Rice doesn't go to Grover Norquist's den to talk about the Annapolis Middle East peace process. She's going to secure her future in Republican politics and to position herself as a 'potential' VP candidate on the McCain ticket.
("BREAKING: Condi Rice Flirts With VP Possibility -- Speaks to Grover Norquist's Wednesday Group Meeting")

UPDATE: After today's meeting, Clemons gave this report ("More on Condoleezza Rice - Grover Norquist Group Meeting"):
The first question Condoleezza Rice received at the meeting was one about her "political future." She responded by saying that she was not interested in more government service at this point -- that she wanted to return to California and write a book that reflected on her time and work in the Bush administration. So, she is telegraphing a "no" about the possibility of a Vice Presidential possibility. Others still argue that one does not talk serious foreign policy matters with the Wednesday Group Meeting without wanting to also telegraph that one might be interested in political futures. In other words, though saying she is not interested in the Vice Presidential slot on a McCain ticket, Condoleezza Rice might be convinced at some point to give up her near California dreams if "necessity" required it....[S]he gave a tour de force discussion of America's global foreign policy and national security positions....

And by all accounts I have heard, her performance was stunningly good, very well received by one of the major bastions of American conservative power players, and that she "won them over," according to one source.

She spoke for 20 minutes and stayed there for 50. She took lots of questions -- and left no one with the impression that this was just about selling President Bush's next nine months in the foreign policy game.
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UPDATE 2: The Evans-Novak Political Report claims Rob Portman, former Ohio congressman, former U.S. trade representative and former OMB director, has the inside track for McCain's VP selection. See: Taegan Goddard's Political Wire

Also see: "Portman praises McCain, but deflects talk of interest in vice presidential slot," Walter Alarkon, The Hill

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