Matt Drudge is reporting the Romney campaign's narrowed their choices for Vice President down to a carefully vetted handful, and that the front runner is none other than former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Matt Drudge reports a VP announcement will happen in the "coming weeks," but for now the Romney campaign has a list of a handful of choices, and Rice is at the top. If true, pundits will point to Romney's big Park City donor retreat as the turning point for Rice. She gave a speech on American foreign policy that wowed everyone there. At the time, Politico said Rice's speech "was praised by several attendees. It, too, focused on foreign policy, and she chastised the president — sometimes by name — for failing to lead on the global stage." Two guests who declined to be named described Rice's speech to ABC News, saying it was "an 'impassioned plea' for the country to 'stand up and take charge.'"
Ann Romney was the first to leak that a woman was part of the potential VP list, but Condoleezza Rice wasn't even on our radar then. Mitt said there would "No more Palins" and our Elspeth Reeve thought he was ruling out, "not just candidates who'd fail foreign policy quizzes, but also candidates who are female." The prevailing thought at the time was Romney was going for something boring and white, like Rob Portman. Just a few days ago Portman was looking more and more like a sure thing when he said he'd been meeting with the top brass of the Romney campaign.
There's a huge amount of skepticism other media members, though, to which the underlying message is that Drudge is pulling our leg. Nate Silver, of the New York Times' Five Thirty Eight, tweeted, "drudge (v.): To leak news to displace an unfavorable headline; to muddy up the news cycle." Again, from Silver, "The Condi Rice for VP contract at Intrade possibly the most obvious short since Pets.com" Original tech bubble jokes! Buzzfeed's Andrew Kaczynski is similarly skeptical, saying "So the Drudge click bait is the Romney camp is vetting someone for veep who is pro-choice, spent 8 years under Bush & has never run office." The idea, essentially, is that Drudge is driving the conversation towards the Veepstakes after Romney's taken a beating over the last 24 hours on outsourcing and Bain. First, there was a report saying Romney invested millions in a Chinese outsourcing company, and then doubts were raised over when he quit Bain Capitol. This overtakes the news cycle and drives it in a direction the Romney campaign wants: everyone playing VP Idol.
It wouldn't be the first time Drudge's been accused of favoring the Romney campaign. He came under fire during the primary season from Rush Limbaugh and Fred Thompson for appearing to support Romney over Newt Gingrich.
The amount of doubt being shoveled on Drudge's report tells us it's probably just a diversion tactic, but it could also be a dry reaction run for a Romney/Rice ticket announcement. If the reception from the base is good, the odds might sway in her favor.