- The Washington Times - Monday, November 15, 2004


President Bush has a nickname for Condoleezza Rice, his choice for the next secretary of state: “The unsticker.”

Mr. Bush tagged the name on Miss Rice, his national security adviser for the past four years, because he said she helped “unstick” problems in Iraq that got caught up in the gears of government.

If the Senate confirms Miss Rice to replace Colin L. Powell as secretary of state, her job will be to keep U.S. diplomacy running smoothly around the globe.

Ever since Mr. Bush walked into the Oval Office, Miss Rice has been busy keeping Mr. Powell and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld from butting heads; orchestrating a North Asia policy designed to get North Korea to let go of its nuclear ambitions; helping the president deal with the nuclear-weapons threat in Iran; and shepherding work on the Middle East peace process.

“I think that she’d probably be pretty good,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a foreign-policy adviser at the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution. “It’s a more prestigious job than national security adviser even if she’s less close to her political patron, the president.”

When Mr. Bush ran for president in 2000, she schooled him on international affairs, sometimes breaking up their sessions to chat about baseball with the one-time managing general partner of the Texas Rangers.

An avid football and baseball fan, Miss Rice has said her dream job would be commissioner of the National Football League. But since Mr. Bush was re-elected early this month, she had been rumored to be the president’s first choice as secretary of state.

He named a rise on his Texas ranch “Balkan Hill” because Miss Rice once gave him a quick history lesson of the Balkans in the middle of a four-mile hike. He rewarded her friendship, most recently by attending a surprise black-tie party for her 50th birthday on Saturday at the British Embassy.

Miss Rice was born in Birmingham, Ala. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Denver, a master’s from Notre Dame and a doctorate from Denver’s Graduate School of International Studies.

She spent six years as provost at Stanford University, the institution’s chief budget and academic officer. Her area of expertise was in Soviet and East European foreign and defense policy.

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