High-power conservative activist endorses Rice for VP
Nick Juliano
Published: Tuesday April 8, 2008

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After her visit to a secretive meeting of high-powered conservative DC activists, where she reportedly was auditioning for a potential vice presidential bid, Condoleezza Rice has secured the endorsement of one of Washington's most prominent power-brokers.

Rice and her aides have scoffed at speculation she is aiming to be John McCain's running mate. Despite her demurrals, though, Grover Norquist, who hosts the weekly Wednesday meeting at which Rice recently spoke, said he thinks she'd be the right woman for the job.

"If her goal was to convince everyone she would be a good president and, therefore, a good vice president -- she hit it out of the ballpark," Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, tells the Washington Post column The Sleuth.

Was Dan Senor, the former Bush administration spokesman in Iraq, accurate when he said on ABC's "This Week" that Rice was "actively" lobbying at the March 26 Wednesday meeting to be presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain's running mate?

"Is she campaigning for it? I don't know," Norquist told us. "But if she is, she's doing it the right way."

It was Rice's first appearance ever before the influential huddle of Washington conservatives, thus it was the first time many right-leaning thinkers around town had had a chance to hear from her firsthand; usually, she sends a deputy from the State Department to talk to the gathering, as other Cabinet secretaries do.

But this time, Rice wanted to address the group of activists and writers personally. And Norquist, who hosts the meetings, says many attendees "left the room saying, 'This is a woman who could be president.'"

Senor, who wasn't at the meeting, told ABC Sunday that Rice "has been actively campaigning for this," referring to the Norquist meeting as one necessary step for any aspiring Republican pol. For her part, Rice has said she wants to return to Stanford after President Bush leaves office.