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Interview With Nancy McLaughlin of the Greensboro News & Record

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Greensboro, North Carolina
June 14, 2006

QUESTION: Secretary Rice, thank you. As a brilliant and accomplished woman who has risen to the highest office of public life, what would you say to the Convention which would limit your abilities as a woman?

SECRETARY RICE: I think that women are progressing and we're progressing in every facet of life. And there will be women who choose a different path and that's just fine. There will be women who, in conjunction with their traditions, will choose a different path and that's just fine, too. I come out of a particular tradition. I have parents who were -- I'm an only child so they were totally devoted to their only child, their little girl. But I, too, grew up also in some very traditional ways and I think the marriage of tradition and free choice is perfectly fine.

QUESTION: So it's okay as long as women are accepting of this?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, my view is that women will find their ways to make their voices heard, to demand what they -- to demand the space and the scope to fully achieve. Obviously I believe women ought to have every possible opportunity. They ought to be educated. They ought to have every opportunity to progress and to advance. But I recognize that different women are going to choose different paths.

QUESTION: As a woman of faith, as you look for solutions with the situation in Iran, do you draw upon biblical stories for inspiration?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, not in specifics to any one country, but of course I draw upon biblical stories all the time and parables and pieces of scripture in my personal life, and to kind of gird myself and steel myself for whatever challenges there are ahead.

QUESTION: Can you give me an example?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I'm a -- you know, I've been through personal struggles. I lost my parents. I've been through struggles of being in government at times when this country has faced some of its most difficult challenges and I'll often turn to the scriptures.

QUESTION: Is there one particular one?

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, Romans 5, which talks about Glorying in Tribulation, also recognizing that out of tribulation comes perseverance, and out of perseverance hope. It's my favorite biblical passage.

QUESTION: Thank you. We have a lot of young soldiers from here. What would you say to mothers and fathers about why they should continue to support the war?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I would say first of all that the service of these men and women is so admired and so valued, and they follow in a long and noble tradition of Americans who have defended freedom; and because Americans have been willing to defend freedom -- and these young men and women do it as volunteers, they defend our freedom -- because we've defended freedom, we have the great blessings that we do.

And what we did learn, though, on September 11th is that those -- that we can be attacked from the outside, tragedy can be brought to our shores, and that the only way to defeat that ideology of hatred that led to people flying airplanes into our buildings was to make certain that we were doing everything we can to deal with the hopelessness and the freedom gap that produced that ideology of hatred. We have to replace it with an ideology of hope. And in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, that's what we're fighting for and it is a noble calling.

QUESTION: Recently the marriage amendment failed and that was disappointing to a number of people here at the Convention. Polls say that same-sex marriage is becoming more acceptable. What are your views?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, look, this is not my area of expertise or, frankly, my area of concentration at this point. I do think that this is an issue that can be debated and can be discussed in our country with respect for every human being. And when we get into difficult debates about social policy, we get into difficult debates that touch people's lives, the only thing that I ask is that Americans do it with a kind of sensitivity that real individuals and real human beings are involved here.

QUESTION: As a daughter of segregation, what does it mean to speak to the Convention?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, it reminds me that like all of our institutions, the church has been through -- has reflected the history of America. I was relating earlier that my dad is a Presbyterian minister and he went to a segregated presbytery for the first ten years of my life and then I remember in 1964 we went to the first integrated presbytery in Birmingham where for the first time Presbyterians crossed racial lines to talk about their faith. That's the history of our country. And I know that the Southern Baptists are trying to reach out to the large black conventions like the National Baptist Convention and I think we can only continue to work to cross those lines because we still have a history in this country; we still bear scars from that history and we have to work every day to overcome it, and people of faith have a particular obligation to try to overcome it.

QUESTION: I know this has to be the last question and it's a little light. But when Esquire asked men who they would invite to dinner from a list of 14 notable women, including Oprah, Jennifer Anniston and others, they chose you. What do you think of that?

SECRETARY RICE: I am stunned. I'm not sure I would choose me. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Why not?

SECRETARY RICE: I don't know, maybe they want to talk about foreign policy or music or my love for sports. Maybe it's the love for sports. That's what I think it probably is, the love for sports.

QUESTION: Well, I won't be disrespectful. I understand that I only had seven minutes.

SECRETARY RICE: I thank you very much.

QUESTION: We love you here in Greensboro. I just wanted to say that with my time.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, thank you. Really nice to meet you. Thank you. Want to take a picture together?

QUESTION: Yeah, sure.

Released on June 14, 2006

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