The biggest move he can make to change his image is via an eye-catching pick for the number two slot on the presidential ticket.
A CNN/ORC poll from last week asked Republicans and Republican-leaning independents to pick their preference for Romney’s running mate. At the top was a surprise choice: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She attracted 26 percent support. Rick Santorum won second place with 21 percent support. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio were tied for third place with 14 percent each. At the meeting of state GOP chairmen in Arizona last week half of them told a National Journal reporter they wanted Romney to pick Rice.
Rice would be a political game changer for the 2012 race.
Yes, she would be the first African-American woman to be on a major party’s presidential ticket, at a time when the GOP is losing ground with minority and female voters.
But she is more than that because — unlike some other prospects — her selection can never be dismissed as racial tokenism. She is an experienced political player who has scars from previous battles; former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are still taking shots at her in their latest books.
And her expertise on foreign policy, as a former secretary of state, would compensate for Romney’s lack of international experience. As a governor and a businessman, Romney dealt almost exclusively with domestic policy.
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