Rice in Milan in 2009 (Luca Ghidoni/GETTY IMAGES)

The presumptive presidential nominee’s wife, Ann Romney, seems to have sparked the latest round of wishful thinking, according to a Friday story in The Weekly Standard. Asked about whether her husband might choose a female running mate, she said the campaign had “been looking at that, and I love that option as well."

That’s not the most likely scenario. Real Clear Politics had the short list down to four potential picks by week’s end: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are still getting mentions as long shots.

So why the enduring buzz about Rice? Well, in this presidential election, the Standard notes, the Republican nominee will not want to take a chance with someone who has not been fully vetted on a campaign trail.

Translation: they are determined to avoid falling for another Sarah Palin – someone who often fell short when it came to in-depth knowledge of policy, and was perceived as at odds with the guy who chose her, John McCain.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (AP)

And unlike Palin, who brought unfavorable attention to John McCain’s campaign, Rice is accustomed to the national stage. Self-assurance, earned the old-fashioned way, is one of her most attractive assets.

Her two memoirs held up well to outside scrutiny. And she wowed the GOP faithful as recently as two weeks ago at a well-attended Romney event in Utah.

Moreover, Rice, who is single, has produced little in the way of personal baggage after eight years in the Beltway; there is no reality TV show waiting to happen.

“Dancing with the Stars” will not be recruiting anyone in her camp. And best of all, she knows you can’t see Russia from here.