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Condoleezza Rice on KTVX-TV With Chris Vanocur

Interview on KTVX-TV With Chris Vanocur

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Salt Lake City, Utah
August 29, 2006

QUESTION: Tell me something about Iraq which you haven't told the other reporters, either here in Washington or -- here or in Washington?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, Iraq is a great culture and a great civilization. And when I hear people talk about should it -- will it split up, will it not be able to unify, I think about the fact that Iraqis really do see themselves as an Iraqi culture and that's very important to understanding why we believe that you will have a unified government in Iraq that will work.

QUESTION: You almost sound like you've got a certain affection for Iraq.

SECRETARY RICE: I do. When I went to Iraq the first time, I flew back out over Iraq and you see that it is a country with so much potential: two great rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates coming together, green land that was once a breadbasket for the whole region, of course, the fortune of oil and really a great and tough, gritty people. When I meet Iraqis, many leaders who have lost their own family members because the terrorists have killed their family members because these leaders are a part of the united Iraqi Government, I know that these are people who want a unified future and they're willing to sacrifice for it. I acknowledge how difficult it is and I see our own sacrifice and I mourn every day our own sacrifices. We're doing it in common cause with a people who deserve a better future than they've had in the past.

QUESTION: I think I've heard that answer before, so I'll move on. You had breakfast with our Governor, I believe. Would Jon Huntsman make a good Secretary of State?

SECRETARY RICE: Jon Huntsman can do anything he wants. He would be a great Secretary of State. We worked together in the Administration, but we talked a lot about Utah. He obviously loves the state and loves what he's having an opportunity to do here. I myself am now a westerner and we talked a lot about technology and the kind of growth of the Sunbelt and those challenges that come from that, but also the opportunities that come from it. But I hope Jon won't mind if I say that probably the highlight was that his daughter who is on her way to Manhattan School of Music --

QUESTION: Mary Anne.

SECRETARY RICE: -- Mary Anne played for me and that – she's fantastic. She and her piano teacher did a rendition of the Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto that was just heavenly.

QUESTION: You anticipated my next question because I read that article that was in The New York Times. Someday, maybe when you're no longer in this job, would you like to play with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?

SECRETARY RICE: Oh, wouldn't that be fantastic. I've listened to them since I was a little kid and obviously it would be great. I've spent a bit of time here in Utah because I would come to music camp here in Utah. There was a chamber music festival here lead by a quartet called the Muir String Quartet up in Snowbird and then later on in Park City. So I tend to associate these glorious mountains with Brahms and playing the piano.

QUESTION: How are we doing on time?

STAFF: You have about three minutes.

QUESTION: Wow. Why hasn't Usama bin Laden caught?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, it's hard to find someone who's willing to hide in caves and doesn't communicate very much and it's obviously something that we devote a great deal of time to is trying to locate Usama bin Laden. We have located and taken out of action in one way another an awful lot of his field generals and lieutenants, the people who actually run these operations for al-Qaida.

QUESTION: But isn't the President the one who said we'd get him dead or alive?

SECRETARY RICE: Eventually, we will. The United States will stay on his trail until we get him. But al-Qaida is not one man and the terrorist threat to us is not one man. And so the work that has been done to take down people like Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and bin al Shibh and others. These are the kinds of activities that keep us safe. Now I'd be the first to say that we are not yet safe, although we are safer and we are safer because we have a tremendous intelligence network working with other countries to try and break up terrorist plots before they are actually carried out. And given that they have to be right only once, we have to be right 100 percent of the time, it's a tough job and it's not a fair fight. And it's why the United States can't win this war on the defense. You have to stay on the offense.

QUESTION: Final 10-second question. Any regrets about not getting the NFL Commissioner job?

SECRETARY RICE: (Laughter.) Just came up a little too early. I had to let that ship come in and leave, I'm afraid. But there are other great sports jobs and after I'm done with this, we'll see what else is out there.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for your time.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much.

2006/T21-9 Released on August 30, 2006

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