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Mitch Daniels: Hypothetically, I'd Like Condi Rice as My VP

3:24 PM, May 13, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Erin McPike at RealClearPolitics reports that, following a big fundraising speech by Mitch Daniels's wife, the Indiana governor kicked back with some college students who are asking him to run for president:

Daniels accepted an invitation from those 55 students to meet at a spacious bar several blocks away after the event; he sipped Woodford Reserve bourbon as he asked them about their own lives and families. In return, they asked him who he might like to tap as his vice presidential nominee if he runs.

Hypothetically, he told them, he'd like to pick Condoleezza Rice.

It's far from a formal pronouncement, but that statement isn't going to help Daniels allay the concerns that social conservatives and foreign policy hawks have about him.

Condoleezza Rice thinks that abortion should generally be legal, and a pro-choice vice president is a non-starter for many socially conservative Republicans. 

As for the hawks' qualms about Rice, see Stephen F. Hayes's 2008 story, "In the Driver's Seat: Condoleezza Rice and the jettisoning of the Bush Doctrine."

In the second term, those who have chosen to test America's resolve--the Iranians, the Syrians, the North Koreans--have often found it less than firm.[...]

So Bush has lowered his expectations and, more than three years later, has mostly abandoned the tough-guy rhetoric that characterized his first term. No one has played a larger role in this shift than Condoleezza Rice, who has been the most influential member of Bush's foreign policy and national security team since her promotion to the post of chief diplomat. "Her influence on the president is total," says one senior Bush administration official.

Rice also opposed the surge in Iraq. 

It's certainly possible to read too much into Daniels's off-hand remark. Who knows if Daniels is that well informed about Rice's political views? Who knows if Rice would be interested in the job? Who knows how much thought Daniels gave the question while sipping bourbon with some college students?

But, again, it doesn't help Daniels with constituencies already skeptical of him.

(Hat tip: Hot Air.)

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