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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > What the Secretary Has Been Saying > 2006 Secretary Rice's Remarks > August 2006: Secretary Rice's Remarks

Interview With Rebecca Walsh, Salt Lake Tribune

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Salt Lake City, Utah
August 29, 2006

QUESTION: I heard you just say you have been to Utah before.

SECRETARY RICE: I have.

QUESTION: Was it camp?

SECRETARY RICE: Yes. I used to go to music camp; first, in Snowbird and then Park City for a couple of years. The Muir String Quartet used to have a chamber music camp here.

QUESTION: When you were a teenager or --

SECRETARY RICE: No, no, just recently when I was Provost at Stanford.

QUESTION: That was the first time you had come -- was for music camp?

SECRETARY RICE: No, I've been to Utah before when I was a student at the University of Denver we came here. I was a skater.

QUESTION: You were a skater?

SECRETARY RICE: I was very --

QUESTION: Figure skating?

SECRETARY RICE: -- very, very bad competitive figure skater (laughter) -- a very non-competitive competitive figure skater. I came here to a competition.

QUESTION: I understand you had breakfast with our Governor.

SECRETARY RICE: I did.

QUESTION: What did you talk about?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, he is a friend. I have known him for a number of years. We served together in the Administration. We talked a lot about international politics. You know he has quite a background on Asia and China, so we talked a good deal about that. I was interested in his hopes for Utah, because since I spent a lot of my life in Colorado, I love this part of the country and so we talked about the growth of Utah. I'm a Californian now and I know that a lot of people are finding reasons to bring their business interests and others to Utah. He talked a lot about the state of Utah and his -- I don't think I'm revealing any family secrets -- his daughter, who's a fantastic musician, played for me before we sat down so that was --

QUESTION: At the breakfast?

SECRETARY RICE: Yes. We went up and she played with her piano coach Rachmaninovís Second Piano Concerto, which was spectacular.

QUESTION: Do you see a role for him in a future administration?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, John can do just about anything he wants to. He's enormously talented and he was very good at USTR. Everything suggests to me he's totally, thoroughly devoted to Utah. He seems to love it here and seems to love his work as Governor.

QUESTION: There's been some speculation because he's in the McCain camp now about what role he would fill.

SECRETARY RICE: We talked a lot about Utah. He seems to really love this state.

QUESTION: You are meeting with three girls who came to the violin?

SECRETARY RICE: Yes. I just did.

QUESTION: You just did.

SECRETARY RICE: Yes.

QUESTION: What is "Strings of Diplomacy"?

SECRETARY RICE: "Strings of Diplomacy" is a program that this Utah Capital citizen diplomat has put together and it is a great idea. They had violins painted in kind of national colors and national symbols by artists all over the world. They had one from Peru and the one from the United States was painted by these three 15-year-olds from a middle school here and it was fantastic. They were great and then I met their mothers and I met their principals. And I met their art teacher. I wish I'd had an art teacher like her when I was in school. I might have actually painted something.

QUESTION: Given what you've observed on the international level about religion and its role in war and in conflict, how do you feel about the role religion plays in American politics?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I am very comfortable with the role of religion in America. I think we all have our own religious views and beliefs. I'm a very, very religious person. My father was a Presbyterian minister. My grandfather was a Presbyterian minister. I'm active in the church. But the great thing about being an American is you can be a very active -- active in your religion or you can believe not at all and you're still an American. We also have managed in this country, not without difficulties sometimes, to incorporate all kinds of religions. One of the fastest growing religions in America is the Muslim faith. People live here as Americans and practice their religions and that's the message that I hope goes out to the world.

In places like the Middle East, they're struggling with long-deferred struggles about the role of religion in politics and it is going to be difficult. But it is better that they struggle with that in an open and political way than to simply repress what are issues that really ultimately have to be resolved.

QUESTION: How do you feel when you see polls that put you number three in a potential presidential race?

SECRETARY RICE: It's flattering but that's not for me. I know what my strengths are and I know what I want to do with my life and I'm hoping that in the last two and a half years as Secretary of State that I can help to advance the President's vision for democracy. I think this is a challenging but really pivotal time in history. And I'm a student of international history and these big changes in international politics don't come along that often and I feel very fortunate to be in this position at this point in time. But when I'm done, I will go back and be an academic and --

QUESTION: Back to Stanford?

SECRETARY RICE: Back to Stanford and teach and write or become president of the 49ers or something like that because I love sports. (Laughter).

QUESTION: What are you most proud of in the past two years and what do you hope will be your legacy?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I don't think of it in terms of legacy because I believe in the kind of times that we are living in the final outcomes here will probably not be known for decades. But what I hope we've done is to demonstrate that America stands on the side of democratic values, that we really do believe that those values are universal. Some of my most satisfying work has to do with seeing the emergence of women in places where they have been denied political rights. The women of Kuwait, after they'd won the right to vote, sent me a T-shirt that said, "Half a democracy is not a democracy." I wear that proudly.

I see that when I go to places in the Middle East now. Often these leaders will bring their daughters or their granddaughters to meet me. I think women are emerging and in some ways that to me is one of the most satisfying elements.

QUESTION: How do you feel about the protestors? There's been some sense that they diminish the role that the military is playing, that they are counter -- that they're sort of aiding and abetting the terrorists.

SECRETARY RICE: Protest is as natural a part of democracy as breathing and I think it is important that people recognize that protest is a wholly legitimate form of political expression. I do hope that as people protest they recognize that they are protesting a war that actually has given people in places like Iraq or Afghanistan the right to protest; that's the irony. You know protesting a war that liberated people from tyranny, there's something ironic in that. It is also the case that I hope -- and I think for the most part our men and women abroad know -- that people can protest policies but that people support them and that is an extremely important message because we've got men and women in uniform, civilians, diplomats serving in extraordinarily difficult and dangerous places and they need to know that they are supported at home.

And finally, I think there's a difference between protesting policy, which I will uphold anybody's right to do, and impugning somehow the motives or integrity of those with whom you disagree.

President Bush did not go to war easily or lightly or eagerly. I watched his struggle and knowing that he was going to have to send American men and women into harm's way. And those who somehow want to say that it was somehow cavalier or lacked integrity or lacked honesty that crosses a line.

QUESTION: What message do you hope to give to the veterans today?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, I want to thank them. I want to thank them for being such a great organization, for embodying everything that is good about America and our sacrifices over really now a century to be on the side of those who, without us, would not have freedom. I want to thank them for defending freedom and for all that they do for now the new generation of men and women in uniform who are doing the same thing. It's a long legacy and a really very honorable legacy to marry principle and power in a way that the United States has and I want to thank them for that.

QUESTION: What did you think when you saw the hugs or the scene -- the backrub seen around the world when the President rubbed Angela Merkel's shoulder?

SECRETARY RICE: Oh -- that was (inaudible) --

QUESTION: Did you see it?

SECRETARY RICE: I saw the picture. You know I think probably what happened was this sort of momentary -- and they catch these pictures.

QUESTION: Is it just in his personality?

SECRETARY RICE: It's just in his personality to be warm and to reach out and they have a lovely relationship. They are -- very nice, easy relationship. You know he probably would have done it to Tony Blair, too. (Laughter).

QUESTION: Yes.

SECRETARY RICE: But they didn't catch that picture. (Laughter).

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.

2006/T21-4



Released on August 29, 2006

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