Two news photos of Condoleezza Rice were widely circulated on the same day. In one, she was cheering for the Georgetown basketball team. In the other, she was entering the Gridiron dinner, glamorously dressed for a Washington ritual once closed to people in evening gowns.
This is a smart, beautiful, black woman who speaks well and loves sports. In other words, she's the ideal running mate for John McCain.
McCain will be competing against a female, an African-American or possibly both. After Bill Clinton started talking up a Hillary-Barack ticket as an "unstoppable force," Obama felt compelled to give the standard statement of any presidential candidate: "I am not running for vice president and don't intend to be vice president."
Fine. But he never said never. The pressure on the Democratic winner to put the loser on the ticket - and on the loser to accept - will be enormous.
Such a "dream ticket" would be strong, yes, but not "unstoppable." McCain runs even with both Clinton and Obama in the latest Newsweek poll. This election could be very close, so his choice of a running mate takes on unusual significance.