According to most, the Condoleezza Rice for Veep story is either a trial balloon for a serious look at Condi, a way to distract the press from the Bain story, or some combination of both.
If the Romney campaign were, in fact, somehow involved with the Condi story, it was a bad move on their part.
Well, even if Romney never even considered Condi, it gives the impression to many activists that he did.
And that's problematic.
Social conservatives are already leery of Romney and if it's true that he'd even entertain the idea of a pro-choice running-mate, it gets conservatives thinking tons of other kind of base-depressing ideas -- that he'd be squishy on the Supreme Court, that he'd be squishy on Health and Human Services, that he'd be squishy on everything dear to social conservatives.
The mere perception that he'd consider a pro-choice Veep gives aid and comfort to those who say Romney would be "Obama Lite", those who say he's a flip-flopper with no core, and to those who say he's more interested in appeasing centrists than conservatives.
All of those perceptions are damaging -- even if untrue.
Conservative talk show host, Mark Levin -- a guy who's tapped into activists Romney desperately needs to be activists -- clobbered the idea of Condi.
"Pick a damn conservative who's managed something... Can't we be confident in our conservatism?"
That's a damaging conversation from every angle.
Even if the Condi story gave the Romney campaign one night's relief from the Bain controversy, it's got the potential to keep them up for many more nights, thanks to the questions it's raised about his commitment to the pro-life movement.
In other words, a short-term Vicodin on Bain probably isn't worth the long-term pain the Condi story could provoke.
This is a bad conversation for Romney and particularly self-immolating if he's the one who brought it up.