Is Rice Positioning Herself As A Possible Veep Pick?

There is a tantalizing new tidbit in the speculation over who will be John McCain's vice presidential pick: Steve Clemons reports that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is speaking at a high-powered Republican gathering run by Grover Norquist this morning.

Why is this significant? According to Clemons' tipster: "Someone like Condi Rice doesn't go to Grover Norquist's den to talk about the Annapolis Middle East peace process. She's going to secure her future in Republican politics and to position herself as a 'potential' VP candidate on the McCain ticket."

McCain's veep pick will come under particular scrutiny because of his age – he would be 72 when sworn in, the oldest president ever to enter the office. That fact has led to speculation that McCain will choose a young running mate – possibly, as the Associated Press reported yesterday, 47-year-old Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

McCain has other considerations as well, however. Conservatives skeptical of McCain are looking for him to pick someone to shore up their support – perhaps former rival Mitt Romney, with whom, it's worth noting, he had an acrimonious relationship on the campaign trail. Other names on thought to be on the short list include another former rival, Mike Huckabee, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.