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

Interview With Dom Giordano of WPHT Radio

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
October 24, 2006

QUESTION: It's something controversial, I have to ask about the NFL, your aspirations there and who your favorite team is.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I want to say first that I saw the Eagles game on Sunday and nobody should lose on a 62-yard field goal.

QUESTION: So you're watching it, you're in the Situation Room with all that's going on in North Korea, Iran, Iraq, et cetera, and you're watching a 62-yard legitimate field goal and saying, no way, right?

SECRETARY RICE: No way, and saying no way. This game is one for the Eagles but I'm sure they're going to have a good season. I like the Eagles a lot, but I'm actually a Cleveland Browns fan.

QUESTION: You're in trouble, Secretary. Come on.

SECRETARY RICE: Yes, yes. It's tough this year, really tough.

QUESTION: Come on, they need your help. They need a little strategy.

SECRETARY RICE: They need some help on that offensive line. I hope the linemen don't mind my saying so, but the quarterback is running for his life on every play. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Why the Browns? Is that a hometown -- you don't have -- no connection.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, but when I was a little girl growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, there were no football teams and so the team that had been -- my dad was a football coach and I was supposed to be his all-American linebacker so he taught me about the sport instead.

QUESTION: Well, the weightlifting -- we see the results.

SECRETARY RICE: That's right. So we would get the Cleveland Browns most Sundays -- Paul Brown, Jim Brown --

QUESTION: Oh, legendary, yeah.

SECRETARY RICE: And so I became a Cleveland Browns fan. When they left Cleveland and the team disappeared for a while, I had a few other teams in there but came back to the Browns when they came back to Cleveland.

QUESTION: I've learned something today. I'm glad to hear that. Let's talk about another team, the Iraq situation. I just talked with Tony Snow today. This message that "stay the course" is something that we were saying -- that the President has been saying. I believe he has said that or communicated that but not as a strategy that doesn't mean there won't be adjustments. Is that message, too, that you'd like in the fourth year? And what kind of -- if you can characterize the adjustments that are going on now.

SECRETARY RICE: Yes. And nobody can have a policy in which you're not making adjustments. This is a very fluid situation in Iraq, things change. It's a thinking enemy that changes tactics and changes strategy and so you have to be able to adapt to those changes.

One thing that's not changing is the United States remains committed to victory in Iraq, remains committed to helping the Iraqis get to the point where they can defend themselves and govern themselves. But we probably will look at the Iraqi security forces and whether their composition is precisely right. We've already changed some of our policies on how we do reconstruction in Iraq, and we undoubtedly will look for other ways to press the Iraqis forward politically. But these are not changes, these are goals. These are changes that are natural including all the strategy (inaudible).

QUESTION: Let's talk about that word "goal." Our listeners are supportive of you, supportive of the President, but there's a bit of fatigue that's set in. Can you give us an idea of what would be the benchmarks of winning or victory in your view that are a bit more specific? And I would tell you, just as a talk radio fan and a host, this is what the problem is. People can't get the rest of their arms around the definition of winning and making progress there. I think that's what one reason (inaudible).

SECRETARY RICE: I fully understand that because every day the American people get up to terrible pictures of violence in Iraq. It's hard to show the (inaudible) developing local governments being (inaudible) and students that are going to school (inaudible). But when we talk about a goal of an Iraq that will govern itself and make themselves secure, what we mean is that the Iraqi Government is able to deliver services for its people: electricity; water; that the Iraqi security forces are able to deal with the (inaudible). It does not mean that the United States has to be there until Iraq is a full-fledged democracy. That's going to take some time. But the foundation has to be laid for democracy in Iraq. We have to be sure that we're not turning the country over to al-Qaida. We're not turning the country over to terrorists. We're not leaving a situation that is so chaotic that there is no one who can bring order.

We have some short-term goals that the Iraqis should meet. For instance, they have what they call a national reconciliation process. It's basic, very concrete things, like passing a law on the distribution of wealth (inaudible). Once they've done that then the various (inaudible) in Iraq are no longer going to be uncertain about what that distribution is and nobody's going to have to fight over that. So what we're going to be able to give the American people are some very concrete steps that Iraqis (inaudible).

QUESTION: Do you expect to roll that out soon? Because again, you know, people get it, if you give a timetable and those sorts of things, that only helps the enemy and they don't want that. They do want to see these things, I think, so that they've kept the faith and they want to argue, if you will, with other people that we are winning. I don't know if you've seen all the stuff over the Flag of Our Fathers. That when the flag was raised on Mount Suribachi across the country, apparently, people said, we are winning. We do need something to grab on to.

SECRETARY RICE: Yes, and go to the country and it will be very important -- very important for us but also important for the Iraqi people to know that their government has passed a law, that their government has passed a law on disbanding militias. That process is beginning but their government has passed a law on who's going to be able to serve, if you will, in the old Baathist Party, what is your standing. These are very basic 12 steps that when the Iraqis complete them they're going to have, we believe, a more stable government.

And you're right, they need to be communicated to people so that you know what to watch for you know what constitutes (inaudible).

QUESTION: So do you see this kind of as a renewal for the Administration moving forward on this front two weeks out from the election to try to -- I don't know about a different tactic, but a different way of articulating this? That's what we were calling for.

SECRETARY RICE: I think it is a different way of articulating and a different way of showing probably the things that I think about every day. When I'm measuring success, I say: Well, how are they doing on the national reconciliation plan? We haven't really communicated that that's what we (inaudible).

QUESTION: You know what, it's not inside baseball or inside football, we want that minutia, if you will, that's important because we need some benchmarks to go forward.

SECRETARY RICE: Absolutely and we understand that and I think you'll see us talking more about this.

QUESTION: Talk about this election in terms of its importance in your role what you see. And I know you don't engage in the politics of it certainly, but give me a sense of what you see this election about because we do have two divergent views on how to move forward.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we clearly are having a national debate about some of the biggest foreign policy and security issues of a generation: how to fight the war on terror; what does it mean to really be able to defend yourself by having the ability to surveil terrorists; what does it mean to be able to stay with the Iraqi people until they're able to defend themselves so that Iraq is a strong pillar in the war on terrorism.

Now, people have the right to their views and I think people are going to make those and people will cast their votes. But the most important thing because this President has a firm obligation to tell the American people what it takes to win this war on terror. And then the American people can decide if they believe in the strategy and the tactics that we're using. But the President (inaudible) what war we're fighting, what enemy we're fighting and the cost, the risk if we don't win this fight.

QUESTION: Let me throw you one oddball question. It's not that oddball -- it came from a listener. I said I would ask them one question when I had the opportunity. They wanted to know in this country we're having a debate about women in power, women as a potential President and most of us believe that's settled. People can vote for women in power. They wanted to know your role in those other parts of the world where that's not so and personally how you deal with that. Your manner is take charge and in charge here. But do you have to position yourself in a different manner dealing with these leaders?

SECRETARY RICE: That's a very good question, actually, by your listener. No, first of all, I'm Secretary of State first and people recognize that and they have become accustomed to dealing with me as Secretary of State. But you know, I think actually where it shows up is that women are struggling, particularly in the people in the Middle East, to find their role. These are places where in many ways -- many places where they can't vote. You wouldn't see a woman minister. In a place like Afghanistan where girls have just finally started going to school again after a terrible regime that kept them from even being educated. And what is really heartening to me is even in places where women don't have full rights, sometimes one of the male heads of state will (inaudible) say, "Would you take a minute to meet my daughter?"


SECRETARY RICE: "She really thinks highly of you and she says she wants to be like you." And I think, oh, my goodness, that's really wonderful.

QUESTION: Well, that stuns me. So you feel once you get behind closed doors you're treated at the same level as anyone else would be and that kind of goes away. There's not a (inaudible) to meet the daughters is a pretty good thing. So there's a one-woman campaign to change what's going on in the other parts of the world.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I do feel that I'm well treated and that people don't respond -- they respond to the Secretary of State. But it is nice when these men will say, you know, my daughter wants to meet you. And I think, well, maybe that daughter has a different expectation of what her life is going to be like than now. And that for me is a real affirmation that the values that we are espousing, that the help that we're giving to people is really the right (inaudible).

QUESTION: While I have you, you seem to be more hopeful about North Korea and you're inside it better than anyone in the world. For the life of me, I don't quite understand that from the people that we bring -- and that have been there. It seems to be that China is the card that seems to be moving things forward. Is that the way you see it?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I see it as -- the President was very wise in putting together a coalition of states to deal with North Korea not just the United States and North Korea, but China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States. And this coalition of states, I think now has taken very strong action after the North Korean nuclear test and is also working very hard to now find a solution to the problem. But having China actually after all these years of what they would call paternal friendship with the North Koreans vote for a resolution that put sanctions on North Korea. This is a very strong move by China and I think they're going to be an important part of it.

QUESTION: Parting question, who do you like this weekend, Cleveland versus whoever they're playing?

SECRETARY RICE: I have to keep saying Cleveland, though I have to say that my face is getting a little bit red. We're only seven games into the season.

QUESTION: Yeah, right.

SECRETARY RICE: You can still be -- Cleveland can still be 10 and 6. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Thank you. Thank you, Secretary Rice, a pleasure meeting you today.



Released on October 25, 2006

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