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Condoleezza Rice Interview with Essence Magazine

Interview with Essence Magazine

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
May 25, 2006

QUESTION: Thank you for doing this for Essence.

SECRETARY RICE: Oh, glad to do it.

QUESTION: We're so excited. We're just so excited. So, you've talked to so many different people so we decided to also ask just regular readers, you know, some questions.

SECRETARY RICE: Oh, okay.

QUESTION: So some of this comes -- some of these questions would reflect, you know, what they would like to ask you.

SECRETARY RICE: Okay. Great.

QUESTION: Just -- I even asked taxi drivers, you know, just "What would you ask -- like to ask Ms. Rice?" So one of the first things I wanted to ask is, you know, there's so much going on right now in the world and many of those problems then land on your shoulders because you're the Secretary of State. And so my first question is, you know, I've read that you try to get a good night's sleep every night.

SECRETARY RICE: I do. Absolutely.

QUESTION: But I'm sure some things keep you up at night. And what is it that keeps you up, you know, at night?

SECRETARY RICE: I really can honestly say that not much keeps me up at night. Usually by the time I get home and I've been through a long day and -- I get up at 4:30 in the morning.

QUESTION: Every morning?

SECRETARY RICE: Every morning, except -- not on the weekends. On the weekends, I get up at 6:00. But on the week days I get up at 4:30, so by 10 o'clock when I go to bed, I'm pretty tired.

QUESTION: So you don't --

SECRETARY RICE: And I tend to -- I've always been blessed with the ability to sleep pretty well. If there's something on my mind, I will get up and write it down or write down a solution to it or go and sleep on the sofa for a little bit, but I tend to go back to sleep, so --

QUESTION: So you just --

SECRETARY RICE: I'm pretty fortunate. I don't tend to have much problem with getting to sleep.

QUESTION: Wow. Okay. Another question is, who do you turn to when you have something to really talk about or you're struggling with, you know, an issue, or you just really need to talk something through?

SECRETARY RICE: Right.

QUESTION: Who would that person be?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first, I turn to God. I really am a big believer in prayer. And so if it's something particularly heavy or weighty, I'll pray about it. I also have good friends, people that I've known for years and I'm also very close to the National Security Advisor, Steve Hadley, who was a deputy national security advisor when I was National Security Advisor. So I talk to him quite a bit. But I have good friends who are great sounding boards for some things, people I've worked with before. But --

QUESTION: Do you depend on them for --

SECRETARY RICE: -- I depend on them as well. But if it's something that is about our policy or something that I can't discuss with people on the outside, I'll usually call Steve Hadley and we'll talk about it.

QUESTION: Okay. Now looking back at your tenure, what, as Secretary of State -- anything particular you would like to change or that you would do differently?

SECRETARY RICE: Oh, I'm sure there are going to be many things when we look back. (Laughter.) Look, we're in big historic changing times right now. And those are always turbulent and they always have a lot of ups and downs. And I'm quite certain that when we look back, there are a lot of things we would have been able to do, should have been done differently, could have done better.

But I am also a big believer that that's the sort of thing that history judges, that issues that look like they were -- decisions that look like they were really good decisions at the time turn out, later on, to have been mistakes and things that look like mistakes turn out to have been the right decision. So I don't spend a lot of time thinking back on what we might have done differently or reviewing past issues. I always try just to keep making adjustments and moving forward, dealing with the situation as it is.

QUESTION: Would you say going to war was a mistake?

SECRETARY RICE: No, no. It was absolutely the right decision. It was time for Saddam Hussein to go. And sometimes you have to make difficult decisions. And I'm sure there are many things that we've done since the liberation of Iraq that could have been done a lot better. But no, the decision to take Saddam Hussein out was the right decision.

QUESTION: So we've spent -- I think the war right now is costing about 250 billion and thousands of people have died, military and civilians. And I think it was last weekend, Meet the Press, you said that Iraqis are in intense political process following, you know, the war. Do you still -- I'm sorry, following the election. Do you still feel that the decision, you know, was really the right thing to do?

SECRETARY RICE: Absolutely. Because it's difficult, it doesn't mean that, first of all, it won't work out. I think it will. And secondly, that it wasn't the right decision. Look at how many big historical changes that later on, it looked like it is inevitable, but they turned out right, were indeed very, very difficult in the process and looked like it was impossible. You know, I spent the summer reading the biographies of the Founding Fathers. By all rights, the United States of America should not have come into being. I'm sure that there were people who thought that the Declaration of Independence was a mistake. I'm sure that there are people who thought that it was a mistake to fight the Civil War to its end and to insist that the emancipation of slaves would hold. I'm sure that there were people who said, why don't we -- I know that there were people who said why don't we get out of this now, take a peace with the South, but leave the South with slaves. You -- just because things are difficult, it doesn't mean that they're wrong or that you turn back.

QUESTION: Now, one question I think is really important, because I know people are always worried about this, but will we ever improve the way Americans -- I'm sorry, the way other people see Americans, other people in other countries see Americans right now?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, it depends on where you are and who you talk to. When I travel abroad, I get really positive feedback from people.

QUESTION: They love you. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY RICE: Well, no, no, but I represent the United States. And the United States has had to do some really difficult things. And not everything is popular that the United States has done. But I look at how many people still want to come to America, that this is the place that everybody wants to study, particularly in graduate school or in college. I look at the popularity of American culture, some of it good, some of it bad. And I think America is widely admired. Some of our policies are not very popular and not very well liked, but I think you can't base how you use the influence of the United States on whether a decision is going to be popular. At a point in time down the road, I think the decisions that the President is taking will be viewed as having been right. They may still not have been popular, but as having been right and as having left the world much more secure.

QUESTION: Sudan, just a lot of problems over there and a big issue and -- especially working at an African American publication, of course, everyone's a little worried about Africa. What are we doing -- what is America doing to try --

SECRETARY RICE: The Sudan is a terrible tragedy. And indeed, this Administration has called it a genocide. And the first thing that I would note is that the President, when he first became President, said, "I want to do something about Sudan." He said that to me: "What can I do about Sudan?" And if you remember, at that time, there was a civil war between the North and the South and millions of people have died in that civil war over decades. And the United States brokered a comprehensive peace agreement between the North and the South and we're trying to make that agreement work.

But no sooner than we brokered that agreement, then the tragedies broke out in Darfur. And so the United States gives -- has been on the lead, first of all, on the peace negotiations. Bob Zoellick, my deputy, went over and brokered this latest peace agreement. The United States has been on the lead on the humanitarian side. About 50 percent of the pledges to the World Food Program for humanitarian assistance came from the United States and 89 percent of what they've received is from the United States.

And in terms of trying to get a security force in that is robust enough to deal with the situation, we've been in the lead in getting the -- trying to get the UN to react. So we need more help from the international community.

QUESTION: You need much more help.

SECRETARY RICE: Much more help. But the United States has been absolutely in the lead on these things.

QUESTION: So you said we're trying to get a more robust, you know, security. Will that happen soon or --

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we've passed a resolution in the United Nations Security Council calling for that and the United Nations will now start planning for it. We've also gone to NATO to see if we can get logistical support for whatever force goes in, because part of the problem is Darfur is really huge. It's the size of Texas. And the security force, the peacekeeping force has to be able to move around. It needs mobility to go to trouble spots. And so what NATO can do is to provide logistical support and mobility. But the troops are going to have to come principally from Africa and that's the way the African Union wants it, that's the way the Sudanese want it. But we're going to have to get countries to step up and provide these troops.

QUESTION: What -- now this is a question that so many of our readers wanted to answer. When you think about last September, Katrina, I can just remember all those pictures of, you know, African Americans on rooftops and wading through dirty water and it's just horrible. And so one question is -- one particular question is, when you saw those photos, what was your first thought when you saw this on television, as an African American?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I knew that we had a terrible crisis on our hands, a terrible tragedy on our hands. And yes, it looked to me like there was this -- you know, there are these pockets in America where race and poverty come together in a really terrible way. And it was quite clear that there were parts of New Orleans, the poorest parts of New Orleans, where people didn't have the means to get out. And I remember seeing school buses underwater and thinking, you know, it's a pity that they weren't evacuated on those school buses before they were underwater.

But I'll tell you what I deeply resented. I resented the notion that the President of the United States, this President of the United States would somehow decide to let people suffer because they were black. I found that the most corrosive and outrageous claim that anybody could have made and it was wholly and totally irresponsible.

QUESTION: Many people claim -- I mean --

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah. And people should have been held to account for it. People should have been asked, what possible proof do you have that the President of the United States let this happen because these people were black.

QUESTION: Well, why did it happen? Why this --

SECRETARY RICE: Because it was the storm of the century or, rather, the perfect storm of the century with levees that we now know should have been built differently, but for decisions over a long period of time, many of them at the local level, that were not good decisions about the levee. Clearly the system -- federal system and state systems were overwhelmed. They've looked at lessons learned to try to do better the next time. You know, part of the problem we have in the United States is we have -- usually, we think of it sequentially local, followed by state, followed by federal and it got ahead of us. And so it -- I think people were doing their best, but nobody was really properly prepared for this to come together in exactly this way.

My father grew up in Baton Rouge and he used to talk about the fact that they worried that the Mississippi would overrun its banks. And as he used to put it, Lake Ponchartrain, the levees wouldn't hold and Lake Ponchartrain would engulf New Orleans. He would have been 84 years old. It hadn't happened in that length of time. And so I think people were not prepared. But it was certainly not because anybody wanted to be negligent or anybody cared less because these were black Americans. That was a ridiculous lie.

QUESTION: Well, one other question about Katrina is that as, you know, the most important -- one of the most important, powerful women in America and also the top official -- black official in this Administration, do you feel at all accountable for not -- well, I wouldn't say not pushing the government to not do something faster, but as an African American --

SECRETARY RICE: I think once it happened, the government did its best, you know. It was -- people aren't perfect and this response was not perfect. You know, I do foreign policy. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: I know you do foreign policy. I totally understand that.

SECRETARY RICE: I don't run Homeland Security. I don't run FEMA. I do foreign policy. But everybody felt responsible and tried to help. Now we got millions of dollars from abroad, of people who wanted to help from abroad. Some of that money today is being used to fund proposals from places like historically black colleges in Louisiana that were hurt by this. People responded because they know what happens when you have an overwhelming tragedy of this kind and that's what it was.

QUESTION: If this ever happened again, I mean --

SECRETARY RICE: Well, everybody's working very hard on the kind of lessons learned to try and keep it from happening again, but you know, the government tries to be prepared. When something of that magnitude happens, you see that even the U.S. federal government can be overwhelmed.

QUESTION: And I want -- I do want to clear that up. We know that, you know, you work with national -- I mean, international issues. But for some reason, African Americans -- many people want to know, you know, did Condoleezza -- was she urging, you know, the federal government to do something.

SECRETARY RICE: Sure. Look, I remember. I was in New York and I came back from New York because I'd gone -- I was going to go on vacation. I thought, well, the world's pretty quiet. I mean, as quiet as it's been for a while, I'll go on vacation and then Katrina happened. And I came back. I did what I could to coordinate the international response because we were getting international response from all over the place. I also went to Alabama that weekend just to say to people --

QUESTION: I remember you toured.

SECRETARY RICE: -- you know, everybody's thinking about you. And I'm a native daughter of Alabama and I thought it would be an important thing to do. And one of the first people I reached out to was Bruce Gordon in the NAACP and said, you know, how can we work on this together? I guess -- sure, I've never felt that -- even though my responsibility is foreign policy, I realize that I'm the highest ranking African American in the government. I realize that I have a close personal relationship with the President. And so yeah, I feel responsible for helping on those issues, too.

QUESTION: Okay, Okay. So I think you've cleared that up.

SECRETARY RICE: Yes.

QUESTION: Okay. So one -- I guess one more Katrina question and this will be the last Katrina question.

SECRETARY RICE: It's all right.

QUESTION: FEMA cut, I think, about 50,000 Katrina victims off funding and I'm just wondering how can a person who has lost almost everything start over if the funding is being cut off?

SECRETARY RICE: I'm not familiar with the details of what FEMA is doing. I know they're trying to help people who are in need. I know that we've -- the U.S. has put -- the U.S. Government has put enormous resources into recovery and for people, but I'm not (inaudible) specific details.

QUESTION: Okay. Now you've kind of answered this, but it is true. African Americans have this belief that Bush doesn't really care about them. And we're not talking about Katrina right now. But what could you say to them to dispel that issue?

SECRETARY RICE: Do you know what first really attracted me to this President when he was governor? It wasn't foreign policy. It was his education policies. It was the fact that he was deeply disturbed that minority kids couldn't -- and third grade couldn't read at third grade level. And he had a phrase that he used: "the soft bigotry of low expectations." And that's what initially attracted me to this President because I've seen it. I've seen what is happening to our kids, particularly in inner city schools where they're not being educated, where they're being warehoused, where by third grade, they're already behind, where by seventh grade, they have no chance and where by tenth grade, they've dropped out.

And it makes me furious that people aren't more outraged about that. And that he was outraged about that and wanted to have accountability and wanted to have kids tested so that we knew what kind of intervention was needed and wanted to hold schools accountable, I found very important. So when African Americans think about this President, I hope they would think about that. I hope they would think about the efforts he's made at minority homeownership, which he believes is the kind of core.

You know, in my community and in Birmingham, whether you were working class or middle class, you owned your home. That was a piece of America for you. And the President has been really active in faith-based -- in getting faith-based institutions to be able to carry out the compassion agenda, whether it's dealing -- helping single moms or helping drug-addicted people or helping people returning from prison.

In our community, our churches have always been a part of our social network and that the President recognizes, that the federal government ought to recognize that and not discriminate against those programs just because they're based in churches, so I think it's something that African Americans ought to be very attracted to. And so I think -- and you know, and the President almost immediately said, of course, we're going to extend the civil rights -- the Voting Rights Act.

So this is a President who I know well and who has a tremendous heart for wanting to see a really, truly inclusive America.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, this sort of piggybacks on the next question and this is a question I've gotten so much and everybody wants me to ask you this. One question is, how does a woman who grew up in Alabama during the height of segregation become a very important member of a party? It's no longer, you know, the Lincoln Party, but a party that at least is perceived by minorities as not caring enough about their issues.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, I --

QUESTION: And that's an issue that everybody was asking me.

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, I understand. But I've just given you a litany of the things that this President cares about, that minorities ought to understand that he has cared about making opportunity there for everybody. And, in particular, you know, the huge increases in funding to historically black colleges, for instance, which, if this were a President who didn't care, why would he bother to extend more funding to historically black colleges? But I look at what both of the parties have to answer for and I'd say that, yeah, the Republican Party has had some problems. I have to tell you, I don't see the Democratic Party as having done a lot. So --

QUESTION: So is it just perception that African --

SECRETARY RICE: I think it may be perception. I think it's because -- I'll tell you where I really think it starts. I think it started in 1964. The President addressed this in his Urban League speech a couple of years ago. I think it started in 1964 with the reality that the Republican Party did not rally to the Civil Rights Act and the Public Accommodations Act and the Voting Rights Act and instead, adopted the so-called "Southern Strategy." I think that's long dead in the Republican Party and the notion that somehow, you were going to be able to appeal to -- to use opposition to civil rights to appeal to a broader constituency, I think that's long gone from the Republican Party. But I think the historical memory probably lasts. And as the President said, you know, the party has some making up to do, but I really wish people would listen to this President.

Now, on the foreign policy side, if African Americans indeed care about Africa, how many African Americans know that this President tripled -- has tripled official development assistance to Africa, tripled after it was flat from Jimmy Carter -- since Jimmy Carter, flat and now tripled that assistance -- $15 billion for AIDS relief, most of which is going to Africa. These are -- an African Growth in Opportunity Act that allows Africans access to African goods, access to our markets, an effort to do something about girls' education in Africa, a malaria initiative of hundreds of millions of dollars. So I would just say, instead of reacting to the perception, people should look at the facts.

QUESTION: Why aren't the Republicans bringing that to African Americans' attention? Why aren't they are trying to attract more women or more Black Americans if they're doing so much?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think the party is trying. I think Ken Mehlman is trying and he's speaking out. But you know, you have to get through the filter. And the filter is to go often on the perception, not on the reality. But I -- if you just list this President's programs both domestically and internationally, you know, we've been talking about Sudan and ending that civil war. The President also was absolutely instrumental in ending the civil war in Liberia: bringing Charles Taylor to justice, getting him out of Liberia; sending American Marines in to secure Liberia and to get these poor kids, these 14-years-olds with AK-47s off the streets, so that now you actually have in Liberia the first woman President on the African continent.

And I remember -- the President tells a story, the President said, because we had a lot on our plate, he said, you know, "Isn't there anybody else who can help in Liberia?" And I said, "Mr. President, because of our history with Liberia of having been founded by freed American slaves, you know, Liberia is our responsibility."

QUESTION: You said that to him?

SECRETARY RICE: I did.

QUESTION: Okay. One other question that everyone -- this is another question that keeps coming up, keeps coming up. Unlike Powell -- first of all, when was the -- do you talk to General Powell?

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, I talk to -- I do, I do.

QUESTION: When was the last time you talked to him?

SECRETARY RICE: Oh, I just saw him a couple -- maybe a couple weeks ago. And you know, we have dinner once in awhile. And you know, Alma Powell is from Birmingham.

QUESTION: Yeah, yeah.

SECRETARY RICE: And our families knew each other very well. My dad worked for her uncle and my uncle, I think, dated her sister and -- (Laughter.)

QUESTION: All in the family?

SECRETARY RICE: All in the family.

QUESTION: Your father was an educator and a minister.

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah. My dad was first a high-school guidance counselor and a Presbyterian minister. And then he became dean of students at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa and then we moved to Denver and he ended up as Associate Vice Chancellor at the University of Denver. My mom was a schoolteacher.

QUESTION: Okay. Now everybody talks about how, you know, they were so protective of you, had this loving family. And when all this was going on in Birmingham, you really -- you know, you didn't know it was going on because --

SECRETARY RICE: Oh, that's ridiculous.

QUESTION: Was that --

SECRETARY RICE: Of course, it's ridiculous.

QUESTION: Yeah, I was going to ask you, could that be true?

SECRETARY RICE: I would have had to have been living under a rock, not to know what was going on in Birmingham.

QUESTION: Okay good. Good, because I keep reading that and I said --

SECRETARY RICE: Bombs going off in your neighborhood. I think you recognize -- you realize that your little friend -- Denise McNair was my friend. She was killed in that church. I remember the really small coffins going into 16th Street Baptist Church.

QUESTION: So you remember this?

SECRETARY RICE: Of course, I remember it. I remember the day it happened. I was in my father's church. You could feel it. It felt like a freight train or something had come. And I remember people not knowing what had happened and then slowly, the -- you know, it was well in the days before cell phones and kind of slowly, the word spreading that there had been a bomb at 16th Street Baptist Church. Addie Mae Collins was in my uncle's homeroom. We all knew those girls. And you know, the notion that somehow, you could grow up black in Birmingham and not know that Birmingham was segregated --

QUESTION: I never understood that when everybody -- (inaudible)

SECRETARY RICE: It's ridiculous.

QUESTION: I'm glad you cleared that up. Now unlike Powell, who publicly supports affirmative action, you continue to be criticized for not supporting it. But I know The Washington Post story came out and I know you tried to clear that up. For our readers, this is a big issue. Could you please, you know, clear your feelings on it for me there?

SECRETARY RICE: Sure. I was provost of Stanford. I'm on the record. I supported affirmative action. I supported affirmative action. I don't believe in quotas. I don't believe in lowered standards, but I don't believe affirmative action means lowered standards. I think it means looking outside of normal networks to find people who might be equally capable.

I've often said that -- I told this story when I was provost at Stanford. Stanford didn't need another Soviet specialist when they hired me. I was there on a fellowship and -- a Ford Foundation fellowship to teach Soviet specialists about international security issues. And Stanford, I think, took a look at this young black woman and they liked my work and I know that they created a space to hire me because they wanted to diversify their family -- their faculty. I also know that when I came on, they said, now, you know, when it comes to compete for tenure, you'll have to compete just like everybody else. You won't get any extra special treatment. I said, sounds just fine to me. I was tenured in less than six years, which is about a year and half shorter than normal. And I think it worked out well for Stanford and well for me. But that was an example of affirmative action.

QUESTION: So you're clear on it, that you --

SECRETARY RICE: I'm clear on it.

QUESTION: -- you support it.

SECRETARY RICE: I support it. What I don't -- what I don't support is when you start saying you have to have x numbers or you start using formulas to get there. Then I get off the train at that point because I think that you're just setting people up when you start using formulas and quotas. I also think that I disagree fundamentally with people who say that it means lowering standards. It most assuredly should not mean lowering standards. And I think -- I remember saying that, you know, in college admissions, people say, well, we took a risk on this person. Well, you take a risk on everybody. I've had students with 1600 SATs and 4.0 GPAs that didn't make it and kids with far less who did.

And so I just think we have to recognize that it is still -- we are not a color-blind society. You know, I think we aspire to be, but we're not, and race matters. Now there are lots of ways to expand the pool of people that you're looking at. There are lots of ways to make sure that you're really working hard for diversity. You don't have to have quotas to do it. I have said that here at the State Department, I really do hope that we can make a move forward on diversity in the foreign service, because right now, I can say without fear of contradiction that I encountered more African Americans at an elite university like Stanford than I have in the foreign service and that's not good enough.

QUESTION: Wow.

SECRETARY RICE: That's not good enough.

QUESTION: That's saying a lot. But your stance on affirmative action is pretty clear. It's -- you don't agree with Bush, your President?

SECRETARY RICE: I was -- no, no, no. The President has said he doesn't believe in quotas. I'm with him there. He has -- when he was governor of Texas, he had a program called "Affirmative Access," I think trying to get around some of the divisive language that's sometimes there about affirmative action. But Affirmative Access meant that the diversification of the Texas University system had to take place and how did it take place: admitting the top 10 percent. So he's always been concerned by diversity. If you don't believe this President is concerned by diversity, look at his cabinet. Look at his appointments. We've had two black Secretaries of State, back to back and they were both appointed by George W. Bush. So --

QUESTION: Says a lot.

SECRETARY RICE: Says a lot.

QUESTION: Now, I told you, taxi drivers or whoever, I was just asked this question. And another question that comes up, everybody seems to be very proud of your course. It's like you're everyone's cousin, you know, the bright, you know, cousin. But there was an Ethiopian taxi driver who said to me last night -- and I'm repeating this because I keep hearing versions of this. He said, tell her, you know, we love her, but I want to ask what has she done for her community and what will she do? Does she aspire to do anything for the black community? And he said, if she can answer that, he said, "I'll love her forever." But there were other people who kept saying the same thing: "What does -- does she, you know, does it matter to her? I know she is the Secretary of State for the whole country, but she's still African American."

SECRETARY RICE: Sure. And it matters to me a lot. Look, I've worked with all kinds of organizations, you know, the United Negro College Fund, Boys and Girls Club. I was a vice president of the Boys and Girls Club. I started a program in East Palo Alto, which was overwhelmingly minority, mostly black, literally, on the other side of the tracks near Palo Alto. And it's an after-school and summer academy called the Center for a New Generation and some friends and I started it because I gave the commencement address at Ravenswood school district. And the superintendent who became a good friend of mine -- this is right after I went back in 1991 -- and I said to her, you know, this is a very elaborate graduation for graduation from eighth grade. And she said, "That's because 70 percent of these kids will never graduate from high school." And I thought, how can that be.

And so some friends and I started talking and we formed this program, after-school program for 150 kids and summer academy for 250 kids that gave them kind of like a private school experience after school, hands-on math and science, field trips. I insisted that we had to have a band, because the absence of music now in the public schools -- when I was in school, even in public schools in Birmingham, every elementary school had a band and kids learned to play instruments early and it was something that you could be -- you know, accomplished and achieve.

And so we -- the Center for a New Generation had a band, they had -- you know, we went out and raised money for uniforms for them. And I'm very proud to say that that program which began in 1992 is still going. It's now part of the Boys and Girls Club. The kids were here to visit me, a few of them about seven or eight months ago -- the three who had won the scholarship to -- they took the three highest grade point averages and brought them on a trip to Washington and they came to visit me.

You know, I care a lot about my community and I mostly try to do things for underprivileged kids in education. That's what I care most about.

QUESTION: Now, we see President Bush relaxing, we see Bill Clinton in the vineyard. We see Kerry -- does he wind --

SECRETARY RICE: Oh, wind surfing.

QUESTION: Wind surfing. (Laughter.) But we always see you working. We always see you hard at work. And I'm just wondering, why are you so private? I mean, why don't we see you just being -- I mean, everybody -- everybody wants to know. We never -- we just see you working very hard. And I'm wondering, as a woman, and maybe as a African American, being always in the spotlight --

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I don't -- I'm not a -- you know, I'm not a politician, really. You know -- but you know, if you were to see me on a Sunday afternoon, which is my only reliable time to myself is Sunday afternoon and I'll either be playing the piano -- I play with a chamber music group -- or I'll be out playing tennis or lately, I'll be out trying to learn golf or I'll be watching a football game, if it's football season. And so I'm not a workaholic. I know that --

QUESTION: (Inaudible)

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I know, you know, people think I'm a workaholic, but I'm really not.

QUESTION: But you're not. Okay. I have to ask this question. Give us the scoop here. Are you going to run for --

SECRETARY RICE: No. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: So what are you going to do? What's next?

SECRETARY RICE: I love being an academic. You know, I love teaching. I miss teaching. I love having a chance to make an impact on young peoples' lives. When I was at Stanford, I started efforts to make freshmen, particularly African American freshmen, connect better to their faculty and to graduate students because I didn't think they were really taking full advantage of Stanford. I love doing things like that. And I'll go back to the academy.

QUESTION: Really?

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah.

QUESTION: So you're not -- everybody keeps thinking you're going to be, you know, a commissioner.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, unless I can run a sports team.

QUESTION: Yeah, but you're -- President Bush's brother wants to do that now and --

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah. I've got to call Jeb and see why he's competing for that job.

QUESTION: But academia?

SECRETARY RICE: Academia. I really -- I'm quite serious about maybe wanting to run a sports team. I love sports and I think it'd be really fun. I like to manage things. When I was provost at Stanford, I managed a big operation. I like that.

QUESTION: Okay.

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah.

QUESTION: Thank you so much.

SECRETARY RICE: You bet.

QUESTION: It was a great pleasure. I'm sorry --

SECRETARY RICE: It was a pleasure. No, that was good. Thank you.

QUESTION: Yes, thank you.

2006/782

Released on September 5, 2006

ENDS


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