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Interview With Brian Buckwalter of the Pentagon Channel

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Congressional Country Club
Bethesda, MD
July 5, 2008

QUESTION: We're here with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Thank you so much for joining us today.

SECRETARY RICE: It's a pleasure to be with you.

QUESTION: Second year for this tournament, second year you've been out here?

SECRETARY RICE: Yes.

QUESTION: What are your impressions? How are you enjoying this?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I love coming out to this tournament and I especially love the fact that it is doing so much to honor our men and women in uniform. Today is Marine Corps Day, which is great, and I've been sitting with some great Marines. And it's wonderful to be out here.

QUESTION: What were you talking about up there? What was your --

SECRETARY RICE: Golf. We were talking about golf because one of the Marines is a particularly good golfer, so he was giving us all some tips and yardage and that sort of thing. But I understand they had Wounded Warrior Day a couple of days ago and they had the 101st jump. And it's really a great way to remind ourselves that the people of America really appreciate what our troops do. And this America Supports You movement is just growing and growing, and it ought to grow because everybody serving in uniform is a volunteer. They volunteered to defend us and volunteered to defend freedom. 

QUESTION: And I know the tournament and Tiger Woods -- they've handed out 30,000 tickets to troops.

SECRETARY RICE: Yes.

QUESTION: And you were saying how it's wonderful also for them to honor troops and thank troops for what they do, but it's also a nice little distraction, I guess, for the busy days and, you know, what's going on right now. 

SECRETARY RICE: It is. It’s a nice way to get out. And I have my family here. They're visiting from Atlanta and a couple of friends are visiting, and so they love golf too. And it's a time to spend with family, too, and it's awfully important to do that.

QUESTION: A little bit earlier today, we were out at the main gate and they had a booth set up for America Supports You where people could write their messages for the troops as they send them overseas, and they'll send them overseas. Fourth of July weekend, what's your message? What would you like to write on one of those cards?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, if I could write on one of those cards, I would say, first of all, thank you. Thank you for serving this country and thank you for serving this great cause, and thank you for remembering that America is fortunate. Our independence was won more than 200 years ago, but there are countries and peoples all over the globe who are still struggling for freedom. And whenever America has stood on the side of those who are struggling for freedom, America has stood on the side of right. And that's what we're going in Iraq and that's what we're doing in Afghanistan and that's what we're doing around the world.

I would also say that I know that the sacrifice has been great, whether it is people who gave the last full measure, and those are husbands and wives and children who will never be replaced. I also know that there's the sacrifice that families make when people are deployed. But it is really something that is a sacrifice worth making, because America (inaudible) freedom and security are (inaudible).

QUESTION: Finally, I understand you're a pretty big golf fan yourself, a big sports fan, in fact. Who are you pulling for today?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I love all of these guys. I'm really watching a couple of golfers. I'm watching Fred Funk, who I got to meet at the White House.  Rocco Mediate, of course. Everybody is pulling a little bit for Rocco Mediate to win. But there are some great golfers out here, and just watching them play a sport that I say I play is really quite something.

QUESTION: Well, thank you very much for taking some time and speaking with us today. We really appreciate it.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Thank you very much.

2008/551


Released on July 6, 2008

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