During his 2008 presidential contest against Barack Obama, Arizona Sen. John McCain made what many would say today was a bad calculation when he named then-Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Back then, however, because of her gender, it would have been the epitome of political incorrectness to publicly say what many privately thought about his choice, despite how apparent her deficiencies were. In addition, McCain desperately needed something to compete with the excitement that Obama’s candidacy was generating worldwide.
Although, as even Obama has conceded, 2012 won’t be as sexy as 2008, Mitt Romney, his presumptive challenger, will likely face a similar challenge. The former Massachusetts governor is perceived to be out of touch with ordinary Americans and often looks and sounds awkward when interacting with them. But according to L. Douglas Wilder, former governor of Virginia, he could add both gravitas and panache to his campaign by tapping former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to be his number two.
“Rice was a darling of the Bush administration, one of the few who suffered minimal public scars and escaped minus the political revulsion some of her former colleagues still evoke,” Wilder writes in Politico. “She knows foreign policy, which Romney does not. She understands the workings of Washington, also not Romney’s forte.”
In addition, Wilder argues, Rice offers broad regional appeal. She’s a native of the South who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, during a “tumultuous time in this nation’s history.” She also has lived in California, where she has taught at Stanford University, for many years.
“Rice is an American example. … She would break barriers.” Wilder concludes. “Obama-Biden versus Romney-Rice. What a campaign that would be!”
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