Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has responded to former Vice President Dick Cheney’s best selling — and grudge settling — book that contains passages not flattering to her by firing back. Bigtime. A Reuters exclusive:
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday she resented what she viewed as an attack on her integrity by former Vice President Dick Cheney in his just-published memoir.
Speaking in an interview with Reuters, Rice rejected Cheney’s contention that she misled President George W. Bush about nuclear diplomacy with North Korea.
“I kept the president fully and completely informed about every in and out of the negotiations with the North Koreans,” Rice said in her first public comments on the matter. “You can talk about policy differences without suggesting that your colleague somehow misled the president. You know, I don’t appreciate the attack on my integrity that that implies.”
But, then that has been Dick Cheney’s political style.
The Democrats were soft on terrorism.
They were too dumb to see things as brilliantly as he did.
Or they didn’t care about terrorism. Or they were naive dupes who were actually — knowing or not (with the implication that it could be a bit of the latter) — on the side of terrorists.
Barack Obama was undermining the country’s war on terrorism and its protections.
To Dick Cheney, he is always right — something that he reportedly makes abundantly clear in his book. Just read this instant-classic column by the Washington Posts’ Dana Milbank.
It’s no fluke that the man with the perpetual seemingly-ready-to-puke lip curl’s favorite venue has generally been talk radio shows. He is part of that culture. It’s the culture of trying to discredit those who dare to sincerely see things differently through their own political prism — or, in the case of Cheney versus Rice, sincerley reach different conclusions based on a genuine interpretation of facts. MORE:
Rice, in a telephone interview, also disputed a passage in Cheney’s memoir, “In My Time,” in which he says the secretary of state “tearfully admitted” that the Bush administration should not have apologized for a claim in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address on Iraq’s supposed search for uranium for nuclear arms.
Cheney, who opposed a public apology for the unfounded claim, wrote that Rice “came into my office, sat down in the chair next to my desk, and tearfully admitted I had been right.”
“It certainly doesn’t sound like me, now, does it?” Rice said in the interview. “I would never — I don’t remember coming to the vice president tearfully about anything in the entire eight years that I knew him.”
And (to use MSNBC’s Martin Bashir’s favorite word:) indeed: a tearful Condi Rice doesn’t fit in with other accounts of her — both published and otherwise.
I may not be her biggest booster, but before the 2000 election I met two academics separately who knew of Rice. They talked about her as a highly knowledgeable, solid pro and not someone who would tearfully unburden herself to someone who clearly was not on her political side, as Cheney clearly was not.
If you have doubts, take another look at the undoctored photo above.
The look of love, it ain’t. MORE:
“I did say to him that he had been right about the press reaction” to the administration’s acknowledgment that the remarks about Iraq seeking uranium in Africa should not have been in Bush’s speech, Rice said.
“And so I did say to the vice president, ‘you know, you were right about the press reaction.’ But I am quite certain that I didn’t do it tearfully,” she said.
Rice is the latest former senior Bush aide to fire back at Cheney’s memoir and its characterization of the vice president’s bureaucratic rivals.
Rice’s predecessor, former secretary of state Colin Powell, on Sunday said Cheney’s book levels “cheap shots” at colleagues and mischaracterizes events.
Rice was somewhat evasive when asked if Cheney was trying to settle scores.
But her evasivess was just as convincing as Cheney’s passage about her crying to him:
“But I have to say that some of the things that he said about his colleagues are not in keeping with the high respect that I have always had for him,” she added. “I think they do fall into the category of cheap shots.”
Advice to Condi Rice: if Dick Cheney invites you to clear up any misunderstandings with him by joining him on a hunting trip — don’t go.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.