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New poll can't hurt Condi Rice's GOP veep prospects

April 4, 2008 |  8:14 pm

It would seem a no-brainer that somewhere on that lengthy list of vice presidential possibilities John McCain is working through, the name Condoleezza Rice resides. And if McCain aides happened to eyeball a poll released today, she may have moved up a few notches.

The survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted during the last few days of March, found that the Secretary of State enjoys a solid favorability rating: 56% expressed a good opinion of her, compared to 29% who did not.

The Pew report notes that Rice not only is "broadly popular" among Republicans (though somewhat less so than three years ago), but gets majority approval from independents -- a stat that would leap out for any astute political operative.

Rice's numbers are all the more impressive when compared with the in-the-tank favorability figures for President Bush -- her mentor and boss whose contentious policies on Iraq and other foreign policy matters she has helped frame and execute in her current job and, previously, as his national security advisor.

In McCain's veep search, Rice offers one obvious plus: in one fell swoop, she would counter (to some degree) the demographic history Democrats are going to make when they nominate either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama for president.

But then there's one obvious minus: having never run ...

for office herself, she's never had to show her chops on the campaign trail or gone through anything close to the vetting process faced by candidates for high-profile posts.

There's also the matter of her oh-so-close association with Bush.

McCain, improbably to many, has thrived even as he has bucked public opinion and, like the president, staunchly called for a continued, committed U.S. presence in Iraq. Still, there's a clear downside to tying himself too closely to Bush and that's why, in this corner at least, we won't be placing any early orders on McCain-Rice paraphernalia.

-- Don Frederick

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