Report: Romney vetted Rice for VP, rejected her because she wouldn't budge on abortion

This isn’t the Wall Street Journal reporting, it’s, er, Radar Online, but whatever. Good enough for a Friday night. I believe all of it, right up to the point where Condi refuses to renounce her pro-choice stance. Really? Mitt Romney was prepared to rescue her from the political wilderness with a spot on the Republican ticket, putting her in line to become America’s first woman president, and she passed on that because abortion is a line in the sand for her? Go watch her answer a question on the subject from CBS. It’s not like she’s some sort of pro-choice warrior; her support is heavy qualified, to the point where an opportunistic late-in-life conversion a la Mitt himself would scarcely be blinked at. Either she’s much more committed to her view on this than anyone guessed or something’s up here.

“Condi was fully vetted to become Mitt Romney’s running mate and turned over financial records, including tax returns,” a source close to Rice tells Radar.

“Mitt thought she would add much needed foreign policy experience to the ticket, thinks she is incredibly bright and he knew she would help with the all important female vote and African American support.

“However, Mitt’s advisers talked him out of it because Condi is pro-choice and she isn’t willing to change her position on the controversial issue. Condi also supports same sex civil unions which again, put her at odds with Romney. Mitt had a hard time getting the ultra conservative support of the GOP and was told if he picked Condi that would immediately be lost and so he ultimately picked Congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate.”…

“Condoleezza is definitely leaning towards running for Governor of California. She wasn’t upset or surprised that she wasn’t picked to be Romney’s running mate,” the source says.

So she skipped her chance to make political history because she’s burning to take over the single most futile job in America, and facing an uphill battle in a deep blue state to do it. Top diplomat for Dubya and now, potentially, governor of the new Greece: Does Condi have some sort of strange affinity for totally thankless tasks? What’s next, running for president of the EU? Good lord. Even the liberals were praising her for her speech the other night. If people are already that willing to forgive her Bush pedigree, she should aim high, not content herself with presiding over the California death spiral.

Speaking of aiming high, I’m intrigued by the murmurs after her speech about her being a contender in 2016. Stipulate that she’ll reverse herself on abortion between now and then and that a few more years of gay-marriage normalization will make civil unions a not-terribly-contentious position even within the GOP. Would she stand a chance? Think about who’ll be running if Romney comes up short this time: Rubio, Ryan, and Rand Paul almost certainly, Christie quite possibly if he wins a second term as governor, Jindal and Jeb Bush quite possibly, and maybe Mike Huckabee. Don’t underestimate Huck, either. At first blush he seems like an also-ran in a field that strong, but one of the reasons he’s supporting Todd Akin is to position himself as the most high-profile social conservative leader in the GOP. Among the candidates I’ve described, Rand Paul will take the libertarians, Rubio et al. will duke it out over more mainstream fiscal conservatives, and Huck will be left to clean up with a huge swath of social conservatives. He won’t win them all, of course, but he’ll win enough, and they’re a big enough bloc that he’ll be a serious contender with the field otherwise divided. Amid all that, where’s the room for Condi? There’s an opening for her, I guess, if foreign policy comes roaring back as the country’s top priority over the next four years, plus some GOP undecideds will favor a woman candidate to counter Hillary if Clinton gets the nod on the Democratic side. But how does Rice build a base sufficient to top the sort of all-star team of potential candidates that I’ve just described? Her speech might have been presidential but realistically, in order to win the nomination, she’d need a 1968 situation where all the other potential nominees just aren’t suitable for whatever reason and so the party turns to her. Instead it’s the opposite — lots of them are suitable. No wonder she’s thinking of staying in California.