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September 26, 2006
Rice Strikes Back

Condoleezza Rice stepped out of character for just a moment yesterday and responded forcefully to allegations Bill Clinton made during his Fox News Sunday interview with Chris Wallace. The New York Post reports that the Secretary of State allowed herself a rare moment of anger when defending herself against Clinton's attacks on the Bush administration:

Rice hammered Clinton, who leveled his charges in a contentious weekend interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News Channel, for his claims that the Bush administration "did not try" to kill Osama bin Laden in the eight months they controlled the White House before the Sept. 11 attacks.

"The notion somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat there and didn't do that is just flatly false - and I think the 9/11 commission understood that," Rice said during a wide-ranging meeting with Post editors and reporters.

"What we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years," Rice added.

The secretary of state also sharply disputed Clinton's claim that he "left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy" for the incoming Bush team during the presidential transition in 2001.

"We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al Qaeda," Rice responded during the hourlong session.

Read the entire piece. I offer it not to get involved in the partisan ping-pong battle in the blogosphere, but in order to point out that Rice's appearance seems more political than anything she's done since her latest confirmation hearing. She has tried to remain outside the realm of partisan politics since that appearance in Congress, and to a large extent she's succeeded. Her focus has even quieted down the Draft Condi movement for 2008 that sprang up after Bush won re-election. No one has talked about Cheney resigning in favor of Rice in months -- thankfully.

That may change for a while, perhaps in conjunction with the midterms. While that rumor deserves to die a short but painful death, the brief emergence of Rice as a political player may get some Republicans thinking about a VP slot for her in 2008.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 26, 2006 6:54 AM

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