Is it 2004 again?  The last time we saw this much speculation over a spot on the GOP ticket for Condoleezza Rice, the incumbent President was in a dogfight with a wealthy Massachusetts politico seeking to unseat him.  Hey, maybe it is 2004!  After a “spectacular” appearance at a Mitt Romney donor conference this weekend, speculation erupted anew that the former Secretary of State and national-security adviser might make the short list in the GOP’s veepstakes.  Rice appeared on CBS This Morning and rejected the idea of being Mitt Romney’s running mate:

In an interview with “CBS This Morning,” the former Secretary of State said “there is no way that I will do this” when asked if she would accept a position as the number two on this year’s Republican presidential ticket.

“Charlie, I didn’t run for student council president. I don’t see myself in any way in elected office. I love policy. I’m not particularly fond of politics,” she told host Charlie Rose, adding that she thinks Romney has “terrific judgment.”

Pressed on whether she would turn it down if asked, she said, “I’m saying there is no way that I will do this, because it’s really not me. I know my strengths, and governor Romney needs to find someone who wants to run with him.”

“There are many people who will do it very, very well, and I’ll support the ticket,” she said.

The donor conference was widely considered a tryout for running-mate hopefuls, and most of the leading contenders made appearances. Under those circumstances, it’s easy to see why interest in Rice as a running mate would intensify … again.  Rice could have run in 2008 if she was interested in electoral politics, and perhaps could have even snagged the top spot.  Rice remains very popular within the GOP for her work on national security and foreign policy.  However, Rice has done nothing to build or strengthen an electoral support base, and hasn’t ever run for office.  Her inclusion at the conference was most likely a way for Romney to demonstrate his readiness on foreign affairs, and perhaps hint that Rice would participate in a significant way in a Romney administration.

Here is Rice’s full interview. She declines to go on full attack against Barack Obama on foreign policy, but responds that the US can’t “lead from behind,” a theme in Romney’s campaign as well.