March 13, 2005

Did Russert extract an absolute "no" from Condoleezza Rice?

On "Meet the Press," just now, Tim Russert confronted Condoleezza Rice with the question whether she would run for President. First, he showed her pictures of several American Presidents and asked her what they all had in common. She didn't know, and he informed her tha they were all Secretaries of State. He then displayed a Condoleezza Rice for President website and played her a cheesy Condoleezza for President song. He asked her if she'll run, and she saed she doesn't "have any desire" to run. "Desire or intention?" He asked. "Both," she answered.

He showed her the Sherman statement -- "If nominated, I will not accept. If elected, I will not serve." -- the classic, absolute way to say you're not running. She responded with another statement of not "wanting" to run, so we think, "Aha! She will run!" Russert prompted, "I will not run." And she said, "I will not run." But then she went back to "do not want" and "do not intend" formulations, so I was thinking, she's backing off from "will." Russert -- he's good! --swooped in with, "Shermanesque statement?" She threw her right hand up in the air and, with a big smile, said, "Shermanesque statement." He said, "You're done? You're out?" And she said, "I'm done." He concluded: "Here's news!"

Despair! But what's this? Does she back off?
MR. RUSSERT: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who just said she will never run for president, correct?

DR. RICE: Tim, why do you keep pressing me to make these statements?

MR. RUSSERT: Well, because if you're secretary of state, will it affect your ability...

DR. RICE: I don't want to run for president of United States. I have no intention of doing so. I don't think I will be president of the United States ever. Is that good enough?

MR. RUSSERT: And you will never run?

DR. RICE: I don't intend to run.

MR. RUSSERT: But it's different.

DR. RICE: I won't run.

MR. RUSSERT: Oh, we got it.

DR. RICE: All right. There you go.

MR. RUSSERT: Thanks very much.
So, is that supposed to be it? I think not. I can still see her saying, at some later date: "When I said 'I won't run,' I meant it. I had no intention to run. But since that time..." As Secretary of State, she can't be openly running for President, at least not now. She's got to distance herself from the whole idea, even if crafty newsmen like Russert push and push and quote Sherman.

Don't despair Condi for President people!

UPDATE: Nina addresses this dialogue and says, "she was side-stepping the issue of the presidency by focusing on the act of running for that office," and cites on Condi's potential as a VP candidate. Possibly. But what "focusing on the act of running for that office" makes me think, is that she may not run -- it's hard to as Secretary of State -- but she will accept being drafted. That's inconsistent with the Sherman statement, I know, but still.

No comments: