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Interview on KSTU-TV With Hope Woodside

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

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, we interviewed a family who has a son in the Middle East and lost their son. They then came on camera blaming protestors in part for the death of their son. Our Mayor is protesting the war. I wanted to know where you stand on protestors. Is it an opportunity to see how some of the American people are feeling, and does that impact the Administration?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I'll certainly defend the right of people to protest. That's a part of democracy. I would just like the protestors to think about a couple of things, though. One is, they're protesting a war that has liberated a people that had no voice, a people that ended up in mass graves for even the slightest hint of difference with their government. And now in a very difficult course ahead in places like Iraq, you do have people able to do the same that these protestors are doing. That is to make their views known. And America has always stood with those who were voiceless. That is a part of our legacy and heritage.

Secondly, I would hope that we can have a policy debate even with protest without impugning the integrity of the President or others who have made the decision to go to war. I've heard people say the President wanted to go to war. No President wants to go to war because it is the President who has to acknowledge the personal sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and their families. It's the President who, I think, takes a very great personal responsibility for having sent our men and women into harm's way.

And so we can have protests, we can have differences, but we need to do it in a way that recognizes that those are differences, not somehow a flaw in the character of those who have made the decisions.

QUESTION: And do you think the Administration takes a look at what they're saying, though? Does it impact the President and those around him?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, certainly. American leaders understand the importance of keeping the American people both informed and with us in this war. We're a democracy, and Americans have to be a part of the commitment to this difficult course, to the sacrifices that have to be made. But I know that Americans also do not want to leave this work unfinished. I know that no American wants to see that the sacrifices that we have already made would end by our having left prematurely and leaving Iraq to violence and to chaos and, therefore, the future of the Middle East to an even more violent and chaotic future than it might otherwise have.

And I know, too, that Americans know that something changed on September 11th. We're about to have the fifth anniversary of September 11th. What changed was that the ideology of hatred that had grown up and brewed in the Middle East came home to us. And we have to do something about that if we don't want to suffer terrorist attacks over and over again.

QUESTION: All right, I'm going to switch gears. I have to ask, what's in your future? And if not a bid for the Presidency, what then?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, my future right now is the next two-and-a-half years I hope to try and help promote the democracy agenda that this President has boldly laid out. This is a tough world and it's a challenging world, but I feel enormously fortunate to have this job at a time of great historic change. And I find it exciting and I find it energizing to be a part of that. When I'm done, I'm an academic. I'll go back and teach, and I'll write. That is, unless a great job comes up in sports management. (Laughter.) Then I would have to take a look at it to change course.

QUESTION: And you're also in music.

SECRETARY RICE: Yes.

QUESTION: Did you study here in Utah?

SECRETARY RICE: I was a music major in college. And then I started studying again seriously when I went back to be the Provost of Stanford I started doing piano again seriously. There was once a chamber music camp here in Snowbird and then later in Park City, the Muir String Quartet Camp, and I used to come to that. So I'd spend a glorious week in Utah in the summer playing music and listening to music, and I associate it with these beautiful mountains and the openness of this great land.

QUESTION: Well, we hope you get some down time while you're here.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you for your time.

2006/T21-8



Released on August 29, 2006

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