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Interview on ABC's Good Morning America

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

(7:00 a.m. EDT)

MR. GIBSON: Madame Secretary, welcome, first of all, to Times Square.


MR. GIBSON: First time you've been here as Secretary of State.

SECRETARY RICE: That's right.

MR. GIBSON: It's nice to have you here.


MR. GIBSON: There's a new ABC News-Washington Post poll which indicates for the first time, a majority of people say they believe the President intentionally misled this country on Iraq, which suggests a credibility problem and says speeches may not matter if people don't believe you. And yet he makes an important speech tonight.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, he makes an important speech to the American people because it comes from a deep conviction that the President holds that after September 11th it was important to deal with the threats that we saw in the international system and it was important to deal with the poisonous politics of the Middle East that created the al-Qaida threat. And Iraq is a very important element of dealing with the politics of the Middle East. The Iraqis are on a very difficult journey, but when they have established a more democratic and stable Iraq in the heart of the Middle East, it is going to make a tremendous difference to our security because that region, which has for too long had a freedom deficit that leads to this kind of extremism that we called al-Qaida, I think the President will make that case to the American people.

MR. GIBSON: But if polls show that he doesn't have credibility, do speeches matter?

SECRETARY RICE: Whatever the polls say, this President has always lived by his convictions and his values, not by what he sees in polls. And he is going to go to the American people who elected him just six months ago and tell them again why it is important that we finish the job in Iraq. And we are making progress. I know what the American people see on their television screens every day. They see the carnage. We all mourn the sacrifice of Americans who are losing their lives there. And we look forward to the day when American soldiers can return home with the honor that they so richly deserve. But we have to finish this job.

MR. GIBSON: 52 percent now say he misled this country on Iraq, 52 percent say the war is going badly, 56 percent disapprove of his handling of this. So what can he say to people that we haven't heard before?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, other polls show that Americans also understand that we need to finish the job. If you want to talk about polls, there are polls that show that Americans believe that we ought to finish the job.

MR. GIBSON: The same poll says 60 percent of --

SECRETARY RICE: That's right.

MR. GIBSON: the people say we need to stay the --

SECRETARY RICE: We need to stay the course. And that says that Americans understand the stakes here.

MR. GIBSON: There is a real public relations offensive going on now in the war. Secretary Rumsfeld has been appearing. General Casey came back. The President is going to give his speech. You're here. So many people say, well, we have to get to the new constitution, we have to get through the political process. But a year ago, just a year ago to this day, when sovereignty was handed over, the Administration was saying this is such an important political milestone. Since then, 900 American soldiers have died, there have been hundreds of car bombings, and the insurgency goes on seemingly as strong as ever.

What particular thing can you point to that's going to say to the people we're getting somewhere, we've accomplished something here?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the continuing political process. And yes, a year ago we transferred sovereignty to the Iraqis. Charlie, in the large historic sweep of things, that's a very short period of time.

MR. GIBSON: Is it counterproductive for the Vice President to say the insurgency is in its "last throes"? Does that falsely raise expectations?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the point is to note that we're making progress because every day on their television screens, all that we see are pictures of carnage, pictures of car bombs. And so it's easy to say that the insurgency is getting stronger because that's what you see every day, but you defeat an insurgency not just militarily but politically. And every day when Shia and Kurds and Sunnis, and especially Sunnis, see their future in the political process, not in violence, the insurgents are losing the support of the Iraqi people. And when an insurgency loses the support of the population, then it does get weaker.

MR. GIBSON: Madame Secretary, it's good to have you here. Thanks for dropping by.

SECRETARY RICE: It's good to be with you.

MR. GIBSON: All the best.


MR. GIBSON: Thank you.
2005/ 653

Released on June 28, 2005

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