Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The Right Time for Rice?

With Mitt headed home after a less than stunning foreign spin, it might be time for a foreign policy running mate such as Condi Rice.

The Right Time for Rice?

As Mitt Romney wraps up his not entirely successful foreign trip with an economic speech in Poland and heads home for a campaign sprint to the fast-approaching GOP convention, it might be a good time to grab some positive press by quickly naming a running mate.

And given what's been widely labeled as gaffes in England (over questions related to British preparedness to put on the olympics) and then in Israel (over references to positive Israeli "culture" that Palestine took as a slam), it might be time to beef up the ticket with a big name in foreign policy.

For even if Mitt escapes Poland without, I don't know, telling some off-outting Polish joke, it's pretty clear this junket to burnish international credentials fell somewhat short of its intended goal.

But all of the attention to what's called Mitt's lack of nuance and understanding of the subtleties of diplomacy could be wiped away if he were, for example, to hurry home and name former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice his running mate.

Not only would she devour all political oxygen (and I think in a positive way) for a week or two headed toward the convention, she'd also offer the GOP a chance to balance it's ongoing problems with blacks, women and smart people.

Plus, it would show that Romney isn't the "wimp" Newsweek magazine suggests. He'd buck his party's hard-line stance on abortion and gay marriage (Rice has no strong ideology on either issue, having described herself in past as "mildly pro-choice" and supportive of civil unions) and he'd bring a world-class foreign policy wonk to his ticket.

Rice is wildly popular and respected. And I, for one, would love to see a Rice vs. Biden debate.

Picking Rice is a chance for Mitt to feed voters a whole new GOP: softer, smarter, diverse and resonable. It would be good for his party, good for the country and good for the presidential race.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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