WASHINGTON – With rising speculation Sen. John McCain will select Condoleezza Rice to be his running mate, the author of a new biography on the secretary of state is making a campaign issue of the contrast between her and the two Democratic Party candidates.
In an open letter circulating the Internet, Mary Beth Brown, the author of “Condi: Life of a Steel Magnolia,” writes that the ascension of Rice to her post answers the question of whether America is ready for a black president or a woman president.
“Interestingly, the Republican Party has already transcended the politics of gender and race by appointing one of the most talented African American women, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, as secretary of state,” writes Brown. “As I write this letter to you, Condi Rice, not Hillary Clinton is America’s most powerful and respected woman. Condi has served America with honor and grace. And Condi Rice, not Barack Obama, is America’s highest ranking African American official.”
While Rice will be “fired” by a Democratic president, Brown asserts, she will likely continue to serve the country in some high rank if McCain wins.
“Condi will be asked to serve at the top levels of the next administration if a Republican is elected as president,” writes Brown. “The Republican nominee may even ask her to be his vice presidential running mate.”
Brown says she has spent the last few years of her life studying Rice, “and I can tell you without hesitation she is honorable, talented, and above all, very competent. Condi’s story is truly an inspirational story.”
“Therefore, after careful consideration of the repercussions of my actions, I am taking the extreme action of speaking out on these important issues of gender and race,” writes Brown. “I can no longer sit and watch Hillary Clinton campaign to replace Condi as the most powerful woman in America. I know that Hillary should be stopped in her tracks and investigated for her past crimes. I am also greatly distressed that Barack Obama may replace her as the leading black official in America. I wish I could sit and be still, but when I compare the records of these two women and this man, I am struck by the dramatic choice Americans must make this year.”
Yesterday, McCain called Rice “a great American,” adding to speculation he may be considering her for his vice presidential running mate. Meanwhile, Dan Senor, a top former Bush spokesman in Iraq remarked that Rice is actively campaigning for the job.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Republican strategist Senor said: “Condi Rice is an option. Tom Ridge is an option. Although, I think he’d have problems at the convention. Mitt Romney is an option. Condoleezza Rice has been actively campaigning for this. There’s this ritual in Washington, The Americans for Tax Reform which is headed by Grover Norquist, holds a weekly meeting of conservative leaders, about 100 or 150 people. Sort of inside chattering class types and they all typically get briefings from political conservative leaders. Ten days ago, they had an interesting visit from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.”
Senor, whose most notable experience was as spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, later added, it was “the first time a secretary of state has visited the Wednesday meeting. and she wasn’t there to talk about the NATO meeting in Bucharest.”
Another member of the panel, George Will, said he, too, thought Rice could be get the vice presidential spot.
“It is possible,” said Will. “In fact, I guess I’m not talking out of school when I say in our green room last week when Sen. Lieberman was on he said, well, perhaps Condi, and, of course, Lieberman is very close.”
Asked about the Rice speculation, McCain said: “I think she’s a great American. I think there’s very little that I can say that isn’t anything but the utmost praise for a great American citizen that served as role model to so many people in this country and around the world. But as I mentioned to you, we’re not talking about the process because that just, that gets into things that could easily spill over into invasion of privacy. I’m a great admirer of Secretary Rice.”