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  America
A Run in 2008? No, No, No, Says Rice
Complete Profile of World's Strongest Woman
By Mark Mazzetti
Staff Writer
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

She got a promotion just four months ago, yet Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was forced Sunday to discuss her ambitions for a job that won't be available for four more years — and denied that she had any plans to move up to the Oval Office.

During appearances on three Sunday morning television shows, Rice closed the door on a bid for the White House in 2008, saying she planned a return to academic life.

"I don't have any desire to run for president. I don't intend to. I won't do it," Rice said on ABC's "This Week." "I won't. How's that? Is that categorical enough?"

"I will not run for president of the United States," she said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "How is that? I don't know how many ways to say 'no' in this town."

"I don't think I even ran for class president at any point," she said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "I love being secretary of State thus far. I liked being national security advisor. And one of these days very soon I'm going to want to return and be an academic again and get back to the California life and to the world of ideas."

Condoleezza Rice with Yo-Yo Ma after playing "Slow Movement of Brahm's Violin Sonata in D Minor."
Rice was the provost of Stanford University before George W. Bush tapped her to be his national security advisor in 2000. An avid football fan, she has long averred that her dream job would be NFL commissioner.
Rice is enjoying an extended honeymoon in her new position at the State Department, and her high-profile trips abroad have made her the star of Bush's Cabinet during the early days of his second term.

This, combined with the Washington tradition of speculating about the next presidential race years before the rest of the country does, has generated a buzz about Rice possibly making a bid for the presidency.

During a meeting Friday with editors and reporters at the Washington Times, Rice described her position on abortion as "mildly pro-choice" and refused to categorically rule out a presidential run.

Profile: Condoleezza Rice

Ms Rice's intellectual brilliance is undisputed
Condoleezza Rice is the first black female to be appointed as US secretary of state.

She was also the first to occupy the key post of national security adviser.

She is the most academic member of the Bush foreign affairs team and - because of her gender, background and youth - one of the most distinctive.

Condoleezza Rice
Personally close to Mr Bush, she spends almost every weekend with the president and his wife Laura at Camp David. She has been one of his key supporters during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in the continuing war against terror. Despite a somewhat stern demeanour, which has earned her the nickname "warrior princess," Ms Rice has consistently been one of the most popular members of the Bush administration and a proven ally for a president who came to office with little experience of foreign affairs.

Against all odds

Ms Rice was born in 1954 and grew up in Birmingham, Alabama under the shadow of segregation. Racism was so ingrained in her childhood that she says she hardly noticed it.

My parents had me absolutely convinced that, well, you may not be able to have a hamburger at Woolworth's but you can be president of the United States

When she was just eight years old, Ms Rice was standing inside her father's church when she felt the floor shake. A Ku Klux Klan bomb had exploded at a Baptist Church two blocks away, killing four young black girls, one of them her classmate since kindergarten.

Condoleezza Rice (front) with President George Bush

She has often said that to get ahead, she had to be "twice as good," and her childhood chiselled her strong determination and self-respect.

Ms Rice's mother was a music teacher who taught her to play the piano. Her father was a pastor and college principal, who shared his enthusiasm for sport with his daughter.

Change of heart

In an interview with Newsweek magazine, Ms Rice said that despite growing up with racial segregation, personal expectations were high.

"My parents had me absolutely convinced that, well, you may not be able to have a hamburger at Woolworth's but you can be president of the United States," she said.

Condoleezza Rice jogging
Rice is a close friend as well as political ally of Bush. Her parents taught her that education was the best armour against segregation and prejudice. Regarded as one of America's brightest and best, Ms Rice went to the University of Denver at 15 and graduated with a degree in political science at the still tender age of 19. A concert level pianist, she had originally enrolled as a music student, with the intention of becoming a classical pianist.

But while at Denver she came under the influence of Josef Korbel, a Czech refugee and father to the US' first woman secretary of state, Madeleine Albright.

Under his guidance, she became interested in international relations and the study of the Soviet Union and switched courses.

Testing times

A masters and doctorate followed and, at the age of 26, Ms Rice became a fellow at Stanford University's Centre for International Security and Arms Control.

After serving as the Soviet affairs adviser on Bush senior's National Security Council, Condoleezza Rice returned to Stanford in 1991 and, in 1993, became the youngest, the first female and first non-white provost.

Condoleezza Rice (left on last row) with Bush family

Until her appointment as national security adviser, she was a member of several boards of directors, including that of the Chevron Corporation (which named one of its oil tankers Condoleezza Rice, but later renamed it Altair Voyager).

When the Bush administration came to power, her influence over early foreign policy strategy was considerable.

She led the tricky negotiations with Russia over missile defence, and is thought to have spearheaded the unilateralist tone of the first months of the Bush presidency.

But it was in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks in Washington and New York that she really proved her strength, standing staunchly by the president during the difficult days ahead and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Condoleezza Rice
She is thought to be one of the most significant creators of the controversial Bush doctrine of pre-emptive action against states thought to be a threat against the US. "The United States has always reserved the right to try and diminish or to try to eliminate a threat before it is attacked," she stated firmly in an interview shortly before the war in Iraq. But controversial as this view may be it has done nothing to diminish her popularity, both inside and outside the White House.

In fact, her steely determination in these times of conflict may serve her well as she prepares to take up the post of secretary of state.

The above articles are from Reuters and BBC.


Photos of Condoleeza Rice

Condoleezza Rice smiling

Condoleezza Rice performing with Yo-Yo Ma

Condoleezza Rice with President George Bush

Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice (center) at work with her staff

Condoleezza Rice (left)

Condoleezza Rice

South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon (left) shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in her office at the State Department in Washington, Feb. 14, 2005. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Larry Downing

Condoleezza Rice with US soldiers

Condoleezza Rice (upper) seen with Mrs. Bush

Condoleezza Rice



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