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Would Rice make Romney stronger overseas?

July 30, 2012 by Scott Bomboy


As GOP presumed nominee Mitt Romney tours overseas, talk continues about former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s potential effect on the presidential race.

Condoleezza Rice

One of Rice’s strong points as a potential Romney running mate is her considerable experience as a foreign policy expert.

While the other rumored Romney running mates made appearances on Romney’s behalf in the past week in the United States, Rice published an editorial in the Financial Times that echoed her recent speeches about America reclaiming its role as a world leader.

Rice’s editorial in the London-based financial newspaper also lays out a blueprint for American foreign policy.

“We will have to stand up for and promote the power and promise of free markets and free peoples, and affirm that American pre-eminence safeguards rather than impedes global progress,” says Rice.

One area where Rice might have a diminished impact is Israel.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, spent time in Israel over the weekend expressing his support for the nation.

But some of Rice’s critics there have pointed to her role in the Bush administration in Israeli-Palestinian relations and statements that she would support a Palestinian state under certain circumstances.

“There is no Palestinian state because it will only come through negotiation with a secure Israel that is confident in its relationship with the US,” Rice said in her Financial Times column.

In a syndicated article, Uriel Heilman from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency outlined concerns in some Israeli circles about Rice’s statements about Palestine.

“Rice has what many Jewish conservatives would see as baggage,” Heilman says. But he also says conservatives in Israel are much more focused on Romney.

Ironically, a poll last week showed Rice might help Romney more back in the United States and in a swing state that didn’t seem within his reach: Pennsylvania.

A Public Policy Polling survey of voters in Pennsylvania puts a Romney-Rice ticket even with an Obama-Biden ticket in the Keystone State.

The PPP survey shows that Rice would add six points to the Romney ticket and that she is unusually popular in Pennsylvania.

“Rice is a very unusually popular political figure. In Pennsylvania her favorability rating is 60/27 and in Michigan it's 56/28. She's even seen favorably by Democrats--47/38 in Pennsylvania and 41/40 in Michigan--in both states. Her selection has the potential to be a game changer,” the group said on its website.

Scott Bomboy is the editor-in-chief of the National Constitution Center.

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