Tags: McCain | women | VP

Condi, Palin, Fiorina McCain's Top Women

Monday, 23 Jun 2008 02:43 PM

By Jim Meyers

While the names of Mitt Romney, Bobby Jindal and Tim Pawlenty are most often heard as John McCain’s potential running mates, there are several women he could select to fill out the Republican ticket.

The most obvious choice would be Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, David Paul Kuhn observes on the Politico Web site.

Rice has consistently denied any interest in the post, although such denials are “par for the course for prospective veeps,” writes Kuhn, who goes on to profile other women McCain might consider.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, at 44, would add youth to the ticket, and she could appeal to fiscal conservatives after vetoing some of her state’s largest capital projects.

Palin is staunchly anti-abortion, and recently delivered her fifth child — who she knew would have Down syndrome.

Her resume is wide-ranging. In 1982, she led her high school basketball team to the state championship, and two years later won the beauty pageant in her hometown of Wasilla, where she eventually became mayor.

In 2003, she resigned her post as ethics commissioner on the state’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in protest over ethical misconduct within the state’s GOP leadership.

Three years later, she defeated incumbent Republican Frank Murkowski in the primary and Democrat Tony Knowles in the general election to become Alaska’s governor.

Since taking office, Palin has won tax increases on oil companies’ profits, and her approval ratings have stood as high as 90 percent.

“She’s young, vibrant, fresh and now, and a new mother of five,” Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster, told Politico.

But one top GOP leader said Palin is “too unknown and inexperienced” to get the VP nod.

Another possible choice is Carly Fiorina, who served as computer giant Hewlett-Packard’s chief executive from 1999 to 2005.

She is currently the chair of the organization leading the get-out-the-vote effort for the Republican National Committee.

“On the campaign trail and on shows like CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” she’s served as a ubiquitous advocate of the candidate,” Kuhn notes.

“Privately, she has also become one of McCain’s most trusted economic advisers.”

But like Palin, Fiorina could raise questions about her foreign policy inexperience. And being called “the most powerful woman in business” by Forbes magazine could be a dubious distinction during these economic times, since she presided over thousands of layoffs at Hewlett-Packard and left the firm with a $21 million severance package.

In addition to Condi, Palin, and Fiorina, Kuhn cites Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas as a possible choice. She is the longest-tenured female Republican senator and now serves as chairwoman of the Republican Policy Committee, a top post.

Hutchison has appeared on McCain’s behalf on a number of Sunday political shows, and has proven that she can attract large numbers of Hispanic voters.

But the fear among some GOP insiders is that Hutchison, as a supporter of embryonic stem cell research and a relative moderate on abortion, could alienate some social conservatives.

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