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As the The Drudge Report-drives speculation that Condoleezza Rice is now a contender in the Republican veepstakes, surrogates and supporters in Mitt Romney’s orbit say Rice electrified Romney’s circle with a speech she delivered last month at the candidate’s closed-door fundraising retreat in Park City.

Rice’s forceful, and surprisingly partisan 13-minute address — audio of which has been obtained by BuzzFeed — won her two standing ovations from the gathering of big-money donors and GOP elite &mdash. It was widely considered the highlight of the weekend, several people present toldBuzzFeed.

One Romney surrogate said he was surprised by the red meat rhetoric employed by Rice, who has largely retired from the political arena in recent years, devoting her time instead to an academic career at Stanford.

“She’s either very worried about a socialist threat to America, or she wants to be Vice President,” the surrogate said.

Rice would still be an unlikely selection as running mate. She is, in particular, a supporter of abortion rights; Romney has specifically promised anti-abortion groups that his running mate will share their views.

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