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Condoleezza Rice Interview on Fox & Friends

Interview on Fox & Friends

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
New York, New York
June 28, 2005

(7:30 a.m. EDT)

MR. DOOCY: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who joins us live this morning. Good morning to you.

SECRETARY RICE: Good morning.

MR. DOOCY: We tidied up for you. How does it look? (Laughter.)

SECRETARY RICE: It's great, terrific. Yes. (Laughter.)

MR. DOOCY: Thank you so much. Good, good, good.

All right. So he's going down to Fort Bragg today. A lot of Americans are wondering what the mission is. Is it going to change? Give us a preview.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the President will have an opportunity tonight, on the one year anniversary of the transfer of sovereignty -- and it's important to realize it's one year, it's not very long. And the Iraqis have now already held elections, elections that inspired everybody. They then have formed a government, a very good government. I've been with some members of that government just recently. They've been -- are writing a constitution and they'll have elections in December.

And I know that it's hard when every day what you see on TV are the pictures of the car bombs, innocent Iraqis dying, of course the continued sacrifice of American men and women in uniform. But it is very important to keep focused on that political process because when the Iraqis are taking control of their own future that way, and when their security forces are taking more responsibility, there's no doubt that our own coalition forces will be less needed.

MS. CHETRY: Was this speech planned to coincide with the one year mark of the handover of power or is it because of the increasing criticisms and questions about how things are going in Iraq?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, there's no doubt that the American President ought to speak to the American people at a milestone like this because we did transfer sovereignty one year ago, and so it gives him an opportunity and it gives him an opportunity in a setting with American men and women in uniform who are bearing the sacrifice and it allows him to tell the American people where we are in this great mission.

MR. KILMEADE: The Prime Minister -- you have talked to the Prime Minister over in Iraq. you've talked to him here. He seems somewhat nervous that Americans start losing their will in this fight. And he also called for something that I couldn't figure out: a Marshall Plan for Iraq. Aren't we giving them the Marshall Plan already?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we did make that point to him that the American people have given over $18 billion in grants -- not in loans, in grants. And I think what he was saying, and when we talked about it, they have a lot of needs. They have a lot of reconstruction needs. We are already involved in reconstructing electricity, reconstructing water centers, schools and clinics. But they also are making an appeal to the rest of the world, and so it was good to be with 80 countries in Brussels to lend political support to this new Iraqi Government, and then there will be a donor conference very shortly here in which, I think, people can show that they are intending to back that up with financial support for the Iraqis.

MR. DOOCY: Since you're here in New York today, in the New York Times, John F. Kerry writes an editorial about what the President should say tonight, and one of the things he says is the President should tell the truth about what's going on in Iraq. To the best of your knowledge, has the President ever not told the truth?

SECRETARY RICE: No, the President is absolutely, of course, sincere in telling the American people what needs to be done. The American people need not be underestimated. They can see that this is a difficult, difficult struggle. But the American people have always come together and I think they are coming together when the stakes are at the highest. And the stakes in Iraq are very high because we're talking about a change in the center of the Middle East that would change the poisonous politics of that region which is producing so much of the extremism that produces the war -- or that produces terrorism.

MR. DOOCY: Sure.

SECRETARY RICE: So the stakes are very high. I think the American people understand that. And the President will have an opportunity to give them a progress report on what really is an amazing story of Iraqis taking more and more responsibility for their own affairs.

MS. CHETRY: Secretary Rice, you referred to the American people. There's a USA Today-Gallup poll out today saying that 61 percent who were asked feel the President does not have a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq. Why do you think that this -- they say that -- this is the most people -- the most, I guess, people feel this way out of any of the recent polls. Why is that opinion changing and how can he allay those fears tonight?

SECRETARY RICE: Right. Well, I never know quite what to make of polls, but let's just assume that Iraq can sometimes present a confusing picture because, on the one hand, you have a political process that's moving forward and, on the other hand, you have a continued, pretty tough insurgency with people dying every day. And so what the President has an opportunity to do, which he did at the Army War College a little while ago, several months ago, is to go back through the steps that are being taken on the political side to link that with the training of Iraqi security forces so that they can take more responsibilities and to say to the American people there is a strategy for success here that does not depend ad infinitum on American forces to carry this burden. And he will make that case and I think the American people will respond.

MR. KILMEADE: How long do you think we should let the Europeans lead when it comes to Iran? Because, so far, it's not going too well. They have just put a guy in a sham election in that says the first thing I'm going to do is restart that peaceful nuclear program that we need so bad. How long do we let this experiment continue?

SECRETARY RICE: Oh, I still believe that there's a lot -- there are legs still to this diplomatic process that they've involved in and we're trying to support the EU-3. What's often not recognized is that we're supporting the diplomacy, but everybody has said -- all of us united, including the EU-3 -- that if the Iranians decide that they won't take this way out, that the international community has other options like the Security Council.

So we are in a process and I think we lose nothing by allowing the diplomacy to play out here and to give the Iranians a chance. But if the Iranians don't take that chance, then we have a unified international community going forward.

MR. DOOCY: Speaking of the Security Council, anything on your day planner for dropping by the United Nations?

SECRETARY RICE: I am indeed going to go over to the United Nations. I'm going to speak with Secretary General Annan and also with the President of the General Assembly. It's a time when we have to have UN reform and I know that every --

MR. DOOCY: Really?

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, it's time.

MR. DOOCY: Hello?

SECRETARY RICE: It's time. It's time.

MR. DOOCY: Now, when you say reform, you mean condos?

SECRETARY RICE: No, I mean we have got to get at key issues like management reform, the Secretariat reform. We cannot have a Human Rights Commission in which Sudan sits at a time that it's being accused of genocide.

MR. DOOCY: Sure.

SECRETARY RICE: So we need reform and --

MR. DOOCY: Is Kofi Annan up to the job?

SECRETARY RICE: Kofi Annan is a very fine man and I think he has, as Secretary General, he's done a lot of very good things and we expect to keep working with him.

But this is not about the Secretary General. This is -- the member-states have to say the UN is now almost 60 years old, it's really time for reform. And I don't mean just who's going to end up on the Security Council. I know that's what everybody wants to talk about. But we need to go to the fundamental, old-fashioned issues like how are we going to manage the place better, how is it going to be more effective. And those are the issues I'm going to raise when I'm there.

MS. CHETRY: Also, Secretary Rice, what about getting some more UN help when it comes to Iraq in terms of peacekeepers or anything, helping secure the borders? We see one of the biggest problems is that a lot of these insurgents are able to get over the borders from Syria, Iran and other countries.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think the way to deal with that is, first of all, for Iraq's neighbors to step up. Syria needs to stop doing what it's doing. Syria is really in trouble with every -- all of these new states. The Palestinians, the Syrians are not helping by supporting terrorists. The Iraqis, they're not helping by letting people across the border. We know what they've done in Lebanon. So the Iraqi neighbors need to step up and stop harming the Iraqi people.

What we need the UN to do is what they're doing: help with the election process, help with the constitution. And we have a multinational force there, but the real answer to Iraq's security problems rests with Iraqis, Iraqi security forces, not our outside forces.

MR. KILMEADE: Dr. Rice, I don't know, I have another passion besides sports, and it's fashion. I just love to see what people are wearing.

MR. DOOCY: You can tell.

MR. KILMEADE: Absolutely. And have you noticed everyone is writing about what you're wearing? And having done that, do you find yourself staring in the mirror saying, "What are they going to write about this today?" You know, does this go with this? What are they going to say for this? (Laughter.)

SECRETARY RICE: I need your help here, all right. (Laughter.)

MS. CHETRY: No, you don't need my help at all.

SECRETARY RICE: No, you don't worry about such things. You don't worry about such things.

MR. KILMEADE: Are you surprised people are writing this?

SECRETARY RICE: A little bit. A little bit. Because, first of all, I have loved to shop since I was five years old.

MR. KILMEADE: Really?

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, my father was a high school guidance counselor and he was a minister, a Presbyterian minister. On Saturdays, he would go to the church to prepare things, work on his sermon. My mother and I would head to the stores. That was when I was five years old. So when you --

MS. CHETRY: Well, you have to come to New York more often.

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, I agree with that. I agree with that.

MS. CHETRY: Get outside of D.C.. The stores are a little better.

SECRETARY RICE: I agree with that. I agree with that.

MR. DOOCY: You know, right now, about ten blocks from here, somebody is knocking off that outfit you're wearing. (Laughter.) It's going to be for sale later this evening.

MR. KILMEADE: You're also pushing for the Olympics here in New York City.

SECRETARY RICE: I am.

MR. DOOCY: Do you think we still have a shot at that?

SECRETARY RICE: I'm looking forward to -- yes, I do. And I'm really looking forward to the sendoff for the Olympic delegation. This is a great city. It's an international city. You just walk down the street and you see the voices and the faces of the whole world. And so why shouldn't the world come to New York for this Olympics? So I'm really honored to have a chance to be here to do that.

MR. DOOCY: All right. Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State, thank you very much for joining us live today. 2005/655 SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.

MR. DOOCY: Drop by anytime.

SECRETARY RICE: I'd love to do that. Thanks.

MR. DOOCY: Not too often, though, because we hate cleaning up. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. MR. KILMEADE: Thank you, Madame Secretary.

Released on June 28, 2005

ENDS


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