It was Ms. Rice's second trip to the [South] since Hurricane Katrina, when she and other members of the Bush administration came under criticism for the handling of the storm's aftermath. On this trip, Ms. Rice met with hurricane victims and volunteers in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. But much of the rest of her itinerary was of a more personal nature.What about seeming "genuinely uninterested in running for office" would not also be exactly the way she would want to seem if she were genuinely interested in running for President?
No recent secretary of state has taken a trip like this, to relate a life story. Nor has Ms. Rice previously put her own experiences on such public display.
There was her childhood friend, Carole C. Smitherman, now president of the Birmingham City Council, who recalled Ms. Rice as a softball player who could hit the ball as far as any boy, a student who devoured the great books "as casual reading," a ballet dancer and a pianist whose music "filled our streets."
John Cantelow, who taught band in elementary school, with Ms. Rice playing the bells, said, "She was a different kind of kid." He added, "She was more mature than the others and very, very, very - how can I explain it, for a kid? - very focused."
Despite her disavowal of political ambitions, it was hard not to imagine Ms. Rice bringing this biography to elective politics, with this visit as her coming-out party.
Ms. Rice seems genuinely uninterested in running for office, but she clearly enjoyed her celebrity status. And how unlikely would it be for a Republican presidential nominee in 2008, especially one lacking foreign policy credentials, to turn to her as a running mate, especially if the Democratic opponent is, say, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton?
October 24, 2005
Is Condoleezza Rice running for President?