A report that came out late last week suggests Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney rejected the idea of Condoleezza Rice as his vice-presidential running mate because of her pro-abortion position.
Rice technically supports legalized abortion, though she also supports many pro-life limits on it and has tried to present her abortion view as a middle of the road position. According to the web site Radar Online, which quotes “a source close to Rice,” saying Romney ultimately rejected her because she wouldn’t renounce her position.
“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.
At the time, Rice’s chief of staff indicated she was not interested in the vice-presidential slot. As Yahoo News reported:
Rice has previously said she would not consider the job. “There is no way that I will do this,” Rice told CBS News in June when asked if she would agree to joining the Republican ticket. Despite Thursday’s report, she’s sticking to her word, says Georgia Godfrey, Rice’s chief of staff.
After the Rice hoopla, created in part by indications from the Drudge Report that she was the “frontrunner,” many pro-life advocates noted Romney wouldn’t ultimately pick her because he had already pledged to have a pro-life running mate.
During a 2011 presidential candidate forum in South Carolina, Romney made a pledge to only select a running mate who hared his pro-life views on abortion.
Moderator: Governor Romney, will the person you chose as your vice presidential running mate be someone who shares your pro-life and pro-marriage convictions?
Romney: I certainly imagine so, I haven’t made and selections in that regard…[as I look around at the people I would consider] I would expect that they would all be pro-life and pro-traditional marriage…but this is an important enough issue that the person that I would select in that position would share my views on those important issues.
Host: So more than just expectation – would share those views?
Romney: Yes.. that person would share my views, yeah.
Moreover, Romney talked with Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack about a vice-presidential selection in March and renewed his commitment to a pro-life running mate.
Romney: “I don’t have a list at this stage. I haven’t put together a list. I haven’t done any thinking about a VP contender at this point. I would anticipate that whoever our nominee is would start with a very long list because frankly we have quite a group of people who have the skill and the credibility to be viable members of a national ticket. So he asked me about a couple of names but there are – I don’t have to tell you this – there’s a long list of very capable folks, including people who’ve run this cycle.”
TWS: “Would anyone on that list be pro-choice?”
It would also rule out Rice, who has described herself repeatedly as supporting legalized abortion.
In response to reports that the Romney campaign was supposedly considering Rice as a potential running mate, Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said: “Former Secretary Rice’s position on the sanctity of human life makes her an unqualified candidate for Governor Romney to choose as a running mate. Throughout the campaign, including at the Palmetto Freedom Forum last September, he has pledged to us in no uncertain terms that he would choose a pro-life running mate. We have taken Governor Romney at his word and therefore believe Secretary Rice will be ruled out of consideration. Secretary Rice’s position violates criteria that Governor Romney himself has laid out.”
Rice has said that abortion should be “as rare a circumstance as possible,” but added that government should not interfere, according to a Washington Times interview.
“We should not have the federal government in a position where it is forcing its views on one side or the other,” she has said. “So, for instance, I’ve tended to agree with those who do not favor federal funding for abortion, because I believe that those who hold a strong moral view on the other side should not be forced to fund it.”
But she called pro-life people, “the other side,” and explained how she has a “mildly pro-choice” view that makes her essentially one who is “in effect kind of libertarian on this issue”
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“I have been concerned about a government role,” she told the Times, “I am a strong proponent of parental notification. I am a strong proponent of a ban on late-term abortion. These are all things that I think unite people and I think that that’s where we should be. We ought to have a culture that says, ‘Who wants to have an abortion? Who wants to see a daughter or a friend or a sibling go through something like that?’”
Two days later, on March 13, 2005, Rice appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where host Tim Russert clarified her position about whether abortion should be legal or illegal.
“You told the Washington Times on Friday you were mildly pro-choice. What does that mean?” Russert asked.
“It means that, like many Americans, I find the issue of abortion very difficult,” said Rice. “I believe it ought to be as rare as possible. Nobody wants to see anyone go through that. I favor parental notification. I favor a ban on late-term abortion. But I, myself, am not a fan of having the government intervene in the laws.”
“You would not outlaw it?” asked Russet.
“No,” said Rice.
Later, Rice said in 2008 in a 60 Minutes interview: “I myself am someone who believes strongly in parental notification. … I’m against late-term abortion, which is, I think, really very cruel.” But, Rice added, “I have not wanted to see the law changed because it’s an area that I worry about the government being involved in.”