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iReporters yearn for Romney running mate who says she's not running

By Christina Zdanowicz, CNN
updated 12:16 PM EDT, Fri August 10, 2012
Speculation has been rampant about whom Mitt Romney will select as his running mate, and iReporters have their own views.
Speculation has been rampant about whom Mitt Romney will select as his running mate, and iReporters have their own views.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • CNN asked iReporters to weigh in on who they think would make the best GOP VP pick
  • Condoleezza Rice was the most popular pick among iReporters, but she's said she won't run
  • Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Rob Portman and Tim Pawlenty were among the other top choices

(CNN) -- Some voters are still pining for Mitt Romney to pick a dream running mate who's likely out of reach -- a candidate who has said she won't run.

"Gov. Romney, if you're watching, please pick Condoleezza Rice," said Geoffrey Phillips, a Romney supporter in Cotati, California. "She's going to help you with your expertise and foreign affairs, and she has all the experience you're looking for. I think she will help swing the election your way when it comes time. I think she'll add that excitement that your campaign needs."

CNN asked iReporters across the political spectrum to weigh in on who would best fill out Romney's ticket. Among the dozens of responses, Rice, the former secretary of state under George W. Bush, was the most popular pick. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty were among other popular choices.

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Rice, who some see as a Republican Hillary Clinton, has made it pretty clear she's not interested in the job of vice president:

"I cannot imagine myself running for office," she told CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" in January. "Not because politics are so tough, but it's just not me."

Rice reiterated on CBS News last month, "There is no way that I will do this because it's really not me. Gov. Romney needs to find someone who wants to run with him. There are many people who will do it very, very well."

Still, voters seem to be calling out her name as they wait for Romney's expected VP announcement.

"She's so experienced in the government, she's extremely intelligent, she's a woman and she's African-American," said iReporter Kathi Cordsen from Fullerton, California. "All of these qualities could help Romney beat Obama, and to me, that's the main goal."

A Romney-Rice ticket would restore "hope to America," said Vernon Hill of Morehead City, North Carolina.

"Romney and Rice would bring back prosperity, enthusiasm and complement each other in bringing America back to the great country we once were," Hill said. "Rice is not a career politician; she left Washington when her time was up and never, ever looked back. This makes a statement to the character of this lady."

Sam Otto, 16, concedes that Rice would complement Romney on foreign affairs but said, "If that's the point, you can just reappoint her as secretary of state. That's what secretary of state is for." The teen from Johnson Creek, Wisconsin, said he thinks his home state can offer the perfect running mate for Romney.

"I'd pick Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan," he said, "because he's a safe, yet daring pick and is young but is still experienced, so he could, from on Day One, step into the presidency."

Otto said that despite Ryan being in his early 40s, he has a lot of experience, as he has been in the House of Representatives since 1999. Add in that Ryan is from Wisconsin and that he could appeal to both tea party and establishment GOP figures, Otto said.

Speaking of certain states being key, Ohio is another one that may be important for Romney.

Arthur Oliva, a college student in Oxford, Ohio, argues that Portman is the man for the job.

"Whoever wins Ohio can pretty much guarantee the presidency," he said. "Portman is a pretty popular senator in the state. He won his last election by a landslide, and he still remains pretty popular, especially in his home county of Hamilton."

Oliva supports President Barack Obama but said Romney should also pick Portman because "he is a proven attack dog, and he has foreign policy credentials."

Some said they thought loyalty to Romney should play a larger role than credentials in his selection.

The smartest choice would be former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, according to left-leaning independent Matt Sky.

"You have a guy with executive experience, he has some foreign policy experience, he's been incredibly loyal to the Romney campaign," said the free-lancer from New York. "He's not super exciting, but he's not going to overshadow the candidate either."

Adding excitement to Romney's campaign was a common refrain sung by most iReporters, but there was disagreement as to which candidate would bring forth the energy.

Rubio would be up to the challenge, but he could also be "a true jewel to the Romney campaign," said Nicholas Pegues.

"I believe he would excite young people to vote Republican more, and Sen. Rubio would bring a great wealth of knowledge to the Romney campaign for cultural diversity," the Memphis, Tennessee, native said. "He'll just be a great access for minorities in the Republican Party."

Rick Huffman said he would also like Rubio to run alongside Romney, mostly because the senator holds strong conservative values.

"I think Rubio is very articulate, intelligent, great personality, charismatic and most of all, very conservative," said the St. Joseph, Michigan, resident. "He will make Joe Biden look like a dunce in debates."

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