Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has emerged as a surprise and favored choice by potential GOP voters for Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate, according to Fox News consultant Juan Williams, who says she would be “a political game changer.”
Writing in The Hill
, Williams emphasized that Rice would be the first African American woman on a major presidential ticket at a time when polls indicate the Republican Party is struggling to connect with female and minority voters.
“She would be a political game changer for the 2012 race,” Williams writes, adding that her selection could never “be dismissed as racial tokenism” because her credentials are beyond question.
“She is an experienced political player who has scars from previous battles; former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are still taking shots at her in their latest books,” Williams noted.
“And her expertise on foreign policy, as a former secretary of state, would compensate for Romney’s lack of international experience. As a governor and a businessman, Romney dealt almost exclusively with domestic policy.”
Williams cited a recent CNN/ORC poll of Republican and independent-leaning Republicans who put Rice first by 26 percent over Rick Santorum with 21 percent when asked who they favored as Romney’s running mate. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio came in third with 14 percent each.
Williams said Rice has attracted a lot of attention lately because she is so much more than just an expert on foreign policy.
For example, he said she showed “a strong political spine” when she came out against individual states, like Arizona and Alabama, passing laws to increase “the pursuit of illegal immigrants.”
“That position — politically daring in the modern-day GOP — will be a big help as the Romney campaign tries to win over Latino voters,” Williams wrote.
But perhaps more important, said Williams, is the role Rice has played lately in drawing attention to the nation’s public education crisis and calls for reform. He noted that in a recent speech to the Heritage Foundation Rice described it as “the greatest threat to our national security” because America’s schools are “producing unemployable people who will ultimately be on the dole because they will have nowhere else to go.”
“By putting Rice on the ticket, Romney could reform his image and give the education reform movement a boost,” Williams concluded. “And win or lose in November, he will have created a political legacy for himself and done his country a great service.”
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