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Profiles of Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice

Aired November 9, 2002 - 11:00   ET



DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Close enough for government work.


ANNOUNCER: He's an unlikely star in his encore role as defense secretary. A standout wrestler in his youth, he came to Washington with his eyes on pinning the old guard.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wanted to change the establishment. He's always been a change agent.


ANNOUNCER: He first served as defense secretary under President Ford.


GERALD FORD, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I knew Don was a great person of integrity.


ANNOUNCER: He once met Saddam Hussein face to face.


RUMSFELD: He runs a very repressive, vicious regime.


ANNOUNCER: Now with rumblings of war with Iraq, he has been getting praise and criticism for his tough guy stance.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some people think of him as decisive, others consider him arrogant.


ANNOUNCER: America's first line of defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

Then, she graduated from high school at the age of 15.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has been this prodigy all her life.


ANNOUNCER: Music was her first calling, until she got pulled in another direction. From piano to politics, this tough college professor tutored a presidential pupil, and ended up in the White House as national security adviser.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She lives and breathes that job.


ANNOUNCER: Now, she's leading the charge against Saddam Hussein.


CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We can't afford to get back into cat-and-mouse games with the Iraqis.


ANNOUNCER: The story of President Bush's security policy guru, Condoleezza Rice. Their stories now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Hi, welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. As America gets ready for the possibility of war with Iraq, and the White House seeks to mount an international coalition against Saddam Hussein, two key names are emerging from the president's inner circle -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, one that most wields her power behind the scenes, while the other has become the face of the war on terror.

We begin with Donald Rumsfeld. Our military affairs correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, has our profile.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's been a fixture on television since the attacks of September 11.

QUESTION: Can I just get your reaction to the "Post" story?

RUMSFELD: It was a world-class thumb-sucker.

That's inflammatory language, isn't it?

You're beginning with that illogical premise and proceeding perfectly logically to an illogical conclusion.

MCINTYRE: As American forces go on the move, viewers tune in to an unlikely celebrity.

RUMSFELD: They're being used on front line, al Qaeda, and Taliban troops to try to kill them (ph) is why we're using them, to be perfectly blunt.

JEFFREY KRAMES, AUTHOR, "THE RUMSFELD WAY": It's not just the humor and the dressing down; it's the degree of candor, because in that room, we are accustomed to hear words like "collateral damage."

RUMSFELD: Civilians have been killed.

KRAMES: But this is a man who at one particular briefing used the word "kill" nine times.

MCINTYRE: With candor and intellectual flare, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is waging a war and building a following.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I love being introduced by a matinee television idol.

MCINTYRE: His press conferences may sometimes evoke laughter, but Secretary Rumsfeld is well-versed in the gravity of his job.

A job he first held under President Ford. He returned with the new Bush administration, and now, at age 70, holds the distinction of being both history's oldest and youngest U.S. defense secretary. But toward the beginning of his current term, the veteran defense chief struggled.

MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: He was turning to a number of retired military or civilian analysts for advice, leaving the formal military chains largely out of the debate, and that made them very nervous.

MCINTYRE: Newspapers speculated the secretary was on his way out, a relic, out of step with conventional wisdom. Then conventional wisdom changed.

RUMSFELD: At the breakfast I was having when the World Trade tower was hit, I just finished saying to the members of Congress you can be certain in the next six, eight, 10, 12 months there would be an event that would be gripping and would point up the need to see that we invest properly so that we can defend this country.

MCINTYRE: Hours later, on the other end of the still-burning Pentagon, the defense secretary stood composed and set the tone for the U.S. response.

RUMSFELD: The Pentagon's functioning. It will be in business tomorrow.

MCINTYRE: The world was getting reacquainted with Donald Rumsfeld. (on camera): You were back here later in the day, briefing. What does that say?

RUMSFELD: Well, I think it said the right thing. I think it sent a message that, yes, we were attacked, but that the Department of Defense and the military forces of the United States were going to -- they were in business and they were going to stay in business.

DAVID HUME KENNERLY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER: I think Rumsfeld gets calmer and calmer the more that chaos reigns. His strong suit to me has always been he's not afraid to take on a big challenge.

MCINTYRE: Donald Rumsfeld has always been up for a challenge. As an honor student at Chicago's Nutrier (ph) high school, he played halfback on the football team and dominated the wrestling mat.

FRANK CARLUCCI, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: He had come out of Nutrier (ph) high school, was a very good wrestler.

MCINTYRE: Former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci was a teammate of Rumsfeld's at Princeton.

CARLUCCI: Princeton is not an easy university, and he did well at Princeton. He's serious-minded person. He sets goals and strives toward those goals.

MCINTYRE: A political science major on academic scholarship, he picked up extra cash doing one-armed push-ups for money. Upon graduation in 1954, he served three years as a Navy pilot, and won the All-Navy wrestling title. During this time, he also married his high school sweetheart, Joyce Peerson (ph).

But it was his first job after the Navy, a two-year stint as a congressional aide, that set the stage for his biggest competition yet. He built powerful connections, then moved home to Chicago to work as a stock broker, and run for Congress.

FORD: I was tremendously impressed. He was about 29 years of age, attractive, obviously dedicated, so I was real pleased to see him be a candidate, and I was more pleased when he won the election.

MCINTYRE: In Congress, Rumsfeld maintained a conservative voting record, but made a name for himself with his no-nonsense style and his progressive instincts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wanted to change the establishment. He's always been a change agent. He wants to improve things, bring about a different status.

MCINTYRE: Rumsfeld joined the Young Turks, a feisty band of Republican congressmen rallying to replace their old guard minority leader. Their choice, Michigan Republican Gerald Ford.

FORD: They came to me as a group, and Don was one of the leaders, urging me to be a candidate against Congressman Charlie Hallic (ph), and I won by the landslide margin of 73-67.

MCINTYRE: In 1969, midway through Rumsfeld's fourth term, President Nixon tapped the congressman to head the Office of Economic Opportunity, an expansive anti-poverty program.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It had been the favorite program of the Democrats, but it was also a bit out of control. I remember when I went in, you'd see pictures on Che Guevara on the walls.

MCINTYRE: The former congressman quickly reined in the agency, downsizing and asserting his newfound management style.

KEN ADELMAN, FORMER RUMSFELD AIDE: He holds people very accountable for what they do. You know you're doing a wonderful job with Rumsfeld not when he tells you you're doing a wonderful job, because that will never happen. You know you're doing a wonderful job with Rumsfeld when he gives you more things to do.

MCINTYRE: Among the people he brought over from the Capitol, a basketball star interning in the off-season.

BILL BRADLEY, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: I was a Democrat at the time, but I liked him personally, and I thought it would be an interesting thing to do. One of the people I interviewed for a job with Don Rumsfeld was Dick Cheney, and I recommended he got the job. So in some way I'm responsible for the whole effort.

MCINTYRE: After two years, Rumsfeld left the bureau, taking an economic adviser post in Nixon's cabinet. He left behind a loyal staff impressed with his quick mind. And according to one speechwriter, frustrated with his red pen.

ADELMAN: I had a quote from Pericles right in the middle of the speech, and he went and he marked that up as well. And he says, "let me see that." So I fling it over to him in a kind of angry way, and he takes that, and he scratches it, and he says, "that will solve it." Solve it? What do you mean? So I take that draft from him and I look at the introduction, and he says "as Pericles should have said."

MCINTYRE: When we come back, Rumsfeld's political star rises in the face of scandal.

KRAMES: He has the rare distinction of being in the right place at the right time and avoiding the wrong place at the wrong time.



RICE: Good afternoon.


ANNOUNCER: Also ahead on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS -- the national security adviser who makes the covers of news and fashion magazines.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's refreshing to see a woman with that kind of power also care about how she looks.


ANNOUNCER: A side of Condoleezza Rice you rarely see later on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.




MCINTYRE (voice-over): By 1971, Donald Rumsfeld was in Richard Nixon's inner circle. He was an economic adviser, a member of the cabinet, and yet he felt uneasy.

KRAMES: He had sort of bumped heads, if you will, with people in the Nixon administration, and he wanted to put some distance, I believe, between himself and the administration.

MCINTYRE: With discord on the job and a withering economy, Rumsfeld put in for a new position.

KRAMES: He actively sought that NATO ambassadorship, and fortunately he has the rare distinction of being in the right place at the right time and avoiding the wrong place at the wrong time, because of course when the first hint of Watergate surfaced, he was of course in Brussels with his family, serving as a NATO ambassador.


RICHARD M. NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.


MCINTYRE: Rumsfeld was well removed from the scandal that toppled President Nixon.

Shortly before his swearing in, Nixon's successor Gerald Ford was asked who he wanted as chief of staff. He wrote down one name -- Rumsfeld.

FORD: I picked him because I knew Don was a great person of integrity, who was a well-organized, highly disciplined person.

KENNERLY: What president ford realized, he needed somebody to not only guard the gate but to be a personal adviser and someone who he trusted 100 percent, and their relationship was and is excellent.

KRAMES: Rumsfeld was the person that Ford saw first in the morning and last before he went to sleep at night, and I believe that won the ire of many of other cabinet members. MCINTYRE: The chief of staff controlled access to the president; many resented his power. Until 1975, George Bush Sr. was enjoying his own stellar career in the GOP. He blamed Rumsfeld, a potential rival, for his appointment as CIA chief, then considered a political dead- end.

KENNERLY: I think there was a characterization of Rumsfeld as having performed some Machiavellian maneuver to put Bush over there, to get him out of the political way. And from everything I know, which is quite a bit, I don't think that's true.

MCINTYRE: At the same time, President Ford transferred Rumsfeld to a first term as secretary of defense. The 43-year-old secretary was hawkish. He pushed for updated weapons systems. But with only 14 months on the job, little changed at the Pentagon.

O'HANLON: The issue then was figuring out a way for a post- Vietnam military that just lost a big war not to be utterly moralized and defeated.

Frankly, even though Rumsfeld may have tried to fight those trends, he wasn't in power long enough to do much about them, and I don't think that he had a particularly distinguished legacy in that period of time.


JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land.


MCINTYRE: With President Ford's defeat in '76, Rumsfeld was out of a job.

That quickly changed when troubled drug company, GD Searle, took a chance.

KRAMES: Here you have $1 billion-plus company, and you hire on a man who has never, besides being a stock broker many years earlier, who had zero experience in the business world. And he wasn't coming in, you know, as a mid manager, he was coming in as CEO.

MCINTYRE: In government, Rumsfeld developed a brazen management style, one he readily unleashed in the private sector.

CARLUCCI: He's willing to take a tough stance and that's been a consistent hallmark of the career.

MCINTYRE: The new CEO slashed jobs and restructured the leadership. It was a painful process, but the company began to turn around. Rumsfeld was making a name as a manager.

KRAMES: In 1980, "Fortune" magazine named him as one of the 10 toughest bosses in America, saying he will demolish anyone not in complete control of the facts, that was the quote. KENNERLY: He hates people not being prepared. That's probably the number one bad sin. It's like going into to see your professor and you don't have your paper ready. I would be afraid, very afraid.

MCINTYRE: He laid off nearly 60 percent of the corporate staff, sold off unprofitable business units, and sued the FDA to approve the Searle product NutraSweet.

KRAMES: And then in 1985, helps sell the company to Monsanto, netting Rumsfeld his first personal fortune, if you will, of over $10 million.

MCINTYRE: All the while, Rumsfeld stayed involved in government. He traveled throughout the Middle East as a special envoy for President Reagan, even meeting Saddam Hussein in 1983.

RUMSFELD: One of the pieces of it was to go to Iraq. They were engaged in a conflict with Iran, and our interest was in having them be more of a balance in the -- with respect to the Middle East situation.

MCINTYRE: In the mid '80s, Rumsfeld briefly set his sights on the '88 presidential race.


MCINTYRE: Despite his government and corporate reputations, Don Rumsfeld was not a household name.

RUMSFELD: As someone who Jimmy the Greek has at 50-1 odds, you know, you really can't be picky anyway.

BRADLEY: I think he wanted to be president, but I think he also was realistic at that time about what it took. Money was one of the things, and I don't think that he'd raised the money to do that.

MCINTYRE: He returned to the business world in 1990, taking the helm of electronics firm General Instruments, and later merging the company with Motorola.

He then lent his management skills to Bob Dole's '96 presidential run, managing the campaign with an iron fist.

KRAMES: One of his business (ph) assistants didn't do a very good job at something, so he calls him into his office and he says, listen, when I'm CEO of a pharmaceutical company and I'm imprecise, people will die. And when I'm CEO of the Pentagon and I'm imprecise, people will die.

MCINTYRE: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, the old hawk returns to the Pentagon and battles criticism of his hard-line approach.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are many times where he is, in fact, ahead of the president, trying to take the president to a place that he wants to go but the president himself has not yet chosen to go. (END VIDEOTAPE)




BOB DOLE (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I also want to thank all of the media that traveled with me on the plane. And all of my friends -- no, no, no, come on.

MCINTYRE: The '96 presidential race marked the end of Bob Dole's career.

DOLE: God bless America!

MCINTYRE: But his campaign manager stayed engaged in White House politics, even helping an old friend in the 2000 race.

BRADLEY: He was also a supporter of mine in the presidential race, and he wrote me a nice letter, he came to our fund-raiser in Chicago and wrote the check. And he wrote me a letter and said, you know, we're for you in the primary. But don't count us -- don't count on us in the general election. All understood.

MCINTYRE: George W. Bush ultimately won that election. His running mate, Dick Cheney, was a Rumsfeld protege. Bush's choice for defense secretary, his father's formal rival.

O'HANLON: I am surprised that George Bush the son could forgive the sleights at his father's expense from Rumsfeld a quarter century ago.

Perhaps this was a way that George W. Bush felt he could distinguish himself from his father, something he thought was politically important, as well as consistent with his own beliefs.

FORD: President Bush knew of Don's background and his capabilities, and decided he wanted someone with Don's experience running the Pentagon.

MCINTYRE: For the second time in his life, Don Rumsfeld took the oath of office as defense chief, but this run would be a far cry from his previous Cold War term.

CARLUCCI: The then-Soviet Union for all its terrible weapons buildup was at least predictable.

RUMSFELD: Today that empire is no more, the wall is down, and the Cold War is over.

CARLUCCI: So it's a much more complex job than it was then, and the management has gotten no easier.

MCINTYRE: The management part of the job got particularly hard when President Bush asked Rumsfeld, a traditional hawk, to cut defense spending.

KENNERLY: Everybody was after him, from people on the Hill whose constituents were going to lose bases in their hometown to contractors who were not getting as much money as they thought they would get. But Rumsfeld didn't care. The president told him to cut back and he was going to cut back.

MCINTYRE: The cutbacks put him at odds with the uniformed military. Rumsfeld kept counsel with his own inner circle, and his popularity dwindled. Newspapers predicted an early departure for the secretary.

KRAMES: Even "The Washington Post" on September 7 was painting Rumsfeld as a dinosaur of the past. And even in that "The Washington Post" piece naming successors for the secretary.

MCINTYRE: Four days after that "Washington Post" piece, the Pentagon and the whole country were jolted into a new reality.

KENNERLY: The day that the plane ran into his building, he was right out the door helping pull people out of the burning rubble. That's who he is. I mean, that's not an act.

MCINTYRE: After helping on the scene, the secretary returned to his office to prepare a military response.

Don Rumsfeld, crisis manager, was in his element.

O'HANLON: Rumsfeld is a very good secretary of war.

Maybe that's a different job from a peacetime secretary of defense.

MCINTYRE (on camera): I'm told that you point this out to people a lot when they're in your office.

RUMSFELD: I always liked it, and I think Theodore Roosevelt, enormously interesting American figure, but it says there, "aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords," and indeed that's true.

MCINTYRE (voice-over): Rumsfeld advocate was he calls a forward- leaning strategy, a readiness to quickly deploy forces against any country involved with terror. It's a doctrine he applied in Afghanistan less than a month after the September 11 attacks, and a concept he is pushing, some say too hard, on Iraq.

O'HANLON: He would never blatantly oppose the president. There are many times when he is, in fact, ahead of the president, trying to take the president to a place that he wants to go but the president himself has not yet chosen to go. The best example is the debate on Iraq in the summer of 2002, where, again, Rumsfeld was saying publicly there are links between al Qaeda and Saddam that are established and clear and significant, even though the State Department and the CIA are contradicting him. ADELMAN: He believes there are enemies in the world, he believes that America does things slower than it should, does things more deliberately than it should.

RUMSFELD: I get my personal views to the president of the United States, and it's for him to make those decisions and the Congress and the world.

No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to our security than that of Iraq.

MCINTYRE: For now, Rumsfeld is hard at work, pushing his tough stance on Saddam Hussein, a man he's met face to face.

RUMSFELD: He's tough and runs a very repressive, vicious regime.

MCINTYRE: And however the U.S. decides to deal with that regime, one thing is certain -- this hard-nosed manager will stand front and center.

RUMSFELD: And that's the last question. We're through.


ZAHN: While Donald Rumsfeld's appearances before the microphones and cameras have become standard fare for news junkies and the media, the secretary of defense rarely takes questions from average citizens. That's expected to change on Thursday, when Infinity Radio and its 26 news stations air a live call-in slow with Rumsfeld. The secretary will take question from listeners about the war on terrorism and the possibility of military action against Iraq.

ANNOUNCER: Coming up.


RICE: Russia actually received observer status.


ANNOUNCER: She's gone from lessons inside the classroom to lessons inside the Oval Office.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president knew that what he knew on foreign policy he had been taught by Condoleezza Rice.


ANNOUNCER: The woman, front and center in the campaign against Saddam Hussein. PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns.


ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. When National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice speaks, President Bush listens. She's often the first person the president talks with in the morning after his wife Laura, of course. All of which makes Rice one of the most powerful women in the world. No real surprise when you consider Rice has been overachieving since childhood, a childhood that taught her to aspire to greatness and to rise above racism by excelling. Here's Sharon Collins.


SHARON COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The name Condoleezza is derived from an Italian musical term that means "with sweetness." But when it comes to protecting the United States and its interests, there's nothing sugary about Condoleezza Rice.

BUSH: Saddam Hussein is a threat to peace and must disarm.

COLLINS: Leading the charge in the Bush administration's case against Iraq, the national security adviser is characteristically direct and to the point.

RICE: It has aggressively tried to assassinate a former American president. It sits in the Middle East, with a homicidal dictator there, who has used weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons against his own people, and against his neighbors.

COLLINS: She was among the first to advocate preemptive strikes against Saddam Hussein.

RICE: I don't think that anyone wants to wait for the 100 percent surety that he has a weapon of mass destruction that can reach the United States, because the only time we may be 100 percent sure is when something lands on our territory. We can't afford to wait that way.

COLLINS: She is the first woman and second African-American to hold this critical job. But talk of her gender and race seems to be a distant memory.

IVO DAALDER, THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: She has shown that she can do the job of national security adviser. She is the national security adviser first. She's a woman and an African-American second and third.

COLLINS: In the early days of the administration, pundits wondered if she would be able to hold her own.

RICE: Thank you very much and I'm happy to take questions.

JULIA REED, VOGUE MAGAZINE: Well, she's going to be caught between Colin Powell and Rumsfeld, and then you got Cheney, Powell, who was sort of a superhero from the last administration. You got these like theses, you know, two tough white guys.

COLLINS: With two years under her belt, President Bush's 47- year-old foreign policy guru and confidante is proving she does not play second fiddle to anyone. DAALDER: There will be issues discussed, from education to race policy and others that normally would not be discussed between national security adviser and the president.

COLLINS: She is also a close personal friend, sharing a love of sports and similar sense of humor.

BUSH: Another member of my team who is here, who helps us have a strong and certain foreign policy is Senorita Condoleezza Rice. That means Rice.

REED: When she walks in a room, it's second only to when Laura walks in the room, because his body language is so relaxed with Condoleezza.

COLLINS: In 1954, when Condoleezza Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama, it was difficult for anyone to imagine a young black child growing up to be a confidant and adviser to the president of the United States of America, difficult for anyone except perhaps John and Angelina Rice.

CONNIE RICE, COUSIN: They wanted the world. They wanted Condoleezza to be free of any kind of shackles, mentally or physically and they wanted her to own the world.

COLLINS: Both college educated, the Rices did not want the mentality of the segregated South to seep into the psyche of their only child, or any of the children in their neighborhood.

CONNIE RICE: John Rice was very involved with the children of Birmingham. He was like -- he created an entire village wherever he went. He was a wonderful man, just warm and caring and just determined that everybody around him would thrive.

COLLINS: Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, the president of the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, grew up in the Rice's neighborhood.

DR. FREEMAN HRABOWSKI, PRES., UNIV. OF MD IN BALTIMORE: They were clearly working to protect us from all of the negative forces and perceptions from the outside world, from the world that was not black.

CONNIE RICE: And they simply ignored, ignored the larger culture that said you're second class, you're black, you don't count, you have no power.

COLLINS: But sometimes it was hard not to feel powerless, like in 1963 when four little girls from the neighborhood, including a kindergarten classmate of Condoleezza's were killed in the infamous 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.

CONNIE RICE: And that day, they had to figure out how to mute, how to do an end run around, how to blunt a really vicious system, and they did it through education.

COLLINS: Thanks to her mother, a music teacher, Condoleezza began playing the piano at age 3. From her father, also an educator, Condoleezza developed a passion for sports, and a love of learning.

CONNIE RICE: And we had fun. It wasn't joyless, but there was just an unspoken edict, you succeeded and you did well in school, and once you start out that way, you don't know any different.

HRABOWSKI: People continued to say, you need to be twice as good as anybody else who doesn't look like you, because the world is not fair and you don't have time to be a victim, and you have to be the best.

BUSH: Ladies and gentleman, please welcome my dear friend, Dr. Condy Rice.

COLLINS: At the 2000 Republican National Convention, Condoleezza Rice talked about her family's long tradition of education and how it began with her grandfather.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: He was the son of a farmer in rural Alabama, but he recognized the importance of education. Around 1918, he decided he was going to get book learning, and so he asked in the language of the day, where a colored man could go to college. He was told about Little Stillman (ph) college, a school about 50 miles away. So granddaddy saved up his cotton for tuition and he went off to Tuscaloosa.

COLLINS: In her own quest for book learning, Condoleezza Rice, after graduating from high school at the age of 15 enrolled at the University of Denver as a freshman. This was a major step. It was the first time she had attended an integrated school.

CONNIE RICE: Once you got out into the larger world and you were hit with the first messages from the dominant culture, which believe that you could not fly, and that in fact you were stupid and you shouldn't be able to achieve. By that time it's too late, because you've got a 14-year-old who believes that she can anything she wants to be, and it's too late to destroy her self-esteem.

COLLINS: In 1969, the 15-year-old, self-esteem intact, decided to major in music with dreams of becoming a concert pianist. She followed that plan right up until her junior year, when she took a class that dramatically changed the direction of her life.

When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, Condoleezza Rice finds a new passion.





COLLINS (voice-over): On the rare occasion that she has free time, Condoleezza Rice challenges herself with Brahms and Beethoven. But as a music major at the University of Denver, she thought performing would be her life's work, not just a hobby.

Speaking at the Kennedy Center Honors last December, Rice admitted how the change of plans came about.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: I lacked virtuoso talent and I hated to practice, and I realized that if I continued with music, I was destined for a career not at Carnegie Hall, but in piano bars, or perhaps teaching 13-year-olds to murder Beethoven. So instead of studying Russian composers, I decided to study Russian generals.

COLLINS: In her junior year of college, Rice took a class taught by the father of future Secretary of State Madeline Albright, and discovered a new passion.

DAALDER: He instilled in her a love for international relations and a particular interest in then Soviet affairs.

COLLINS: Dr. Joseph Corbell was a Czechoslovakian immigrant who dedicated his life to studying Soviet and Eastern European politics. His enthusiasm for the subject rubbed off on Rice immediately. She changed her major to political science and immersed herself in the language, history, and culture of the Soviet empire.

Upon graduating in 1973, Phi Beta Kappa, at the age of 19, Rice headed to Notre Dame to get her master's.

In 1981, Dr. Condoleezza Rice was scooped up by Stanford University as an assistant professor, teaching the politics of Eastern and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union.

PROF. COLT BLACKER, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: Since Condy skipped a couple of grades, and actually, I think the Ph.D. was conferred when she was either 25 or 26, she was like two or three years ahead of the pack. So she was very close in age even to the undergraduates.

COLLINS: Professor Rice was a hit.

She even captured the Walter J. Gores Award, one of the highest teaching honors at Stanford. But it wasn't just the students and faculty who were impressed with Rice. One night, at a university dinner, she met Brent Scowcroft, President Ford's national security adviser.

Rice made such an impression that years later, when he was again named national security adviser, this time for President George Bush, Scowcroft appointed Rice as his deputy director of Soviet affairs. She was 34 years old.

It was the beginning of Condoleezza Rice's Washington career, and the beginning of a lasting relationship with the Bush family. During her first stint at the White House, she grew close to the president and the first lady.

The elder George Bush once told reporters that Rice was responsible for teaching him everything he knew about the Soviet Union. DAALDER: Russia has been her passion for a very long time, and you see her fingerprints on U.S. policy towards Russia, more than I would say on almost everything else.

COLLINS: The two worked so well together that they maintained their friendship when Bush left office. After her first round in Washington, Rice went back to Stanford to resume teaching.

At 38, she was named second in command to the university president, making her the youngest, first female and first African- American provost in the university's history.

In 1998, her loyalty to the Republican Party would once again provide a curve in the winding road of her career. Her old boss, President Bush, invited her to the family ranch to talk with his son, then governor of Texas.

This would be the first of many meetings, as well as the foundation of a great working relationship and a friendship. The brilliant young professor, former National Security Council staff member and university provost, left her post at Stanford to join the presidential campaign of George W. Bush.

Officially, she was the coordinator of his foreign policy team. Unofficially, she was the candidate's personal tutor. Rice stuck with Bush in his quest to reach the White House, even through missteps like when he failed the infamous current events pop quiz sprung on him by a local news reporter.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you name the president of Chechnya?

BUSH: No, can you?


REED: It could have been kind of a tense situation. He could have been sort of embarrassed. It's a testament, I think, to the way she handled that and their resulting closeness after an experience like that, the sort of amazing capacity that she has to make everybody sort of feel at ease.

COLLINS: It was no surprise when the newly appointed president appointed 46-year-old Rice to a key position in his cabinet. But Washington insiders wondered if she was in over her head.

DAALDER: Early on, there was a sense that she was not necessarily the giant among giants. There were true foreign policy giants in the room, and she was not of the same caliber in the sense that she didn't share the kind of experiences that a Colin Powell, a Donald Rumsfeld, or a Dick Cheney had had.

COLLINS: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, the young gun goes head-to-head with the big guns.




COLLINS (voice-over): The interminable 2000 election was finally settled and George W. Bush became the 43rd president of the Unites States. The new president surrounded himself with familiar faces from his campaign, and veterans of past administrations, including his father's. Condoleezza Rice fell into both categories.

DAALDER: The president trusted her. The president relied on her. The president knew that what he knew on foreign policy he had been taught by Condoleezza Rice.

COLLINS: Earning her the title of national security adviser.

BUSH: Dr. Rice is not only a brilliant person, she is an experienced person. She is a good manager. I trust her judgment. America will find that she is a wise person.

COLLINS: The first woman to hold this powerful position, and one of the youngest at age 47, there was a different kind of spotlight on Rice from the very beginning.

DAALDER: She is a novel commodity. Here is a highly- accomplished African-American woman being part of what is and has always been the boy's club.

COLLINS: She's been featured in a high fashion spread in "Vogue." "Glamour" magazine wanted to know five things about her, and "Essence" magazine dubbed her the most powerful woman in the world.

REED: And it's refreshing to see a woman with that kind of power, also care about how she looks.

COLLINS: It's even said that a certain world leader couldn't concentrate during his first meeting with Rice, because of her shapely legs.

BLACKER: But I suspect she would say, you know, there's no good reason why you can't be smart and effective and intelligent and tough, and take care of yourself.

COLLINS: But Rice has made sure she's out front on issues as well as appearances.

DAALDER: She's been on the Sunday morning talk shows. She has given major speeches.

COLLINS: Rice's fingerprints are all over the president's policy moves. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, she was the cabinet member seen at the president's side every day during briefings, and she stepped forward to help reassure the wounded country.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: While there's no doubt that Americans need to be vigilant. They need to be patient about the security measures that are there at airports, at borders. We are in a very active campaign. The FBI has thousands of agents out hunting down the perpetrators of this crime.

And now she is working to bolster unequivocal international support for the administration's quest to get inside Iraq and get rid of Saddam Hussein once and for all.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: The U.S. view, and I would hope it's the world's view, is that after 11 years of defiance, after 11 years in which he's completely thumbed his nose at his obligations and after four years in which he's had a chance to be outside of the watchful eye of inspections and monitoring, we can't afford to get back into cat-and-mouse games with the Iraqis.

COLLINS: Stationed just down the hall from the Oval Office, Rice's close proximity to the president, both literally and figuratively, has fueled speculation about infighting within the administration.

REED: She's got the president's ear. She's got the president's trust. I mean not to say that Rumsfeld and Powell don't. You just got this direct line. It's just between Bush and Rice that they're the same generation, you know, and I think it really makes a difference. Of course, everybody at one point or another is going to sort of be jealous of her, I would think.

COLLINS: But she has taken it upon herself to dispel any notion that she was edging out Colin Powell.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Nobody should, by any means, be confused here. I'm not the secretary of state. The president doesn't need two secretaries of state. He's got a very fine one.

COLLINS: People close to Rice say her colleagues have nothing to worry about.

CASPER: Those who work with her can trust her completely. Condy will never stab anybody in the back.

CONNIE RICE: There's not a lot of self-aggrandizement, although there's a lot of a very strong sense of individuality, and there's a very strong will. She's a team player, and that's probably why President Bush has her on his team.

COLLINS: One thing that is not questioned is Rice's dedication to her job, and that's led some outsiders to wonder if the unmarried 47-year-old is all work and no play.

BLACKER: If Condy were a man, these questions would not be posed over and over and over again.

REED: I think people should be careful about giving the impression that she has just put everything on hold in her life to get where she is, because she has a rich, full life, full of very close friends and family. BLACKER: I don't know too many people of Condy's stature politically in the policy world who find time to practice Chopin on Sunday afternoon, who find time to work out, who find time to call their friends and their family, go to sporting events, shop for shoes. I don't know anyone any better rounded than Condy Rice.

COLLINS: Her dream, when she leaves the service of her country, to become commissioner of the National Football League. And if her track record is any indication, this child prodigy turned concert pianist and figure skater, turned university provost, turned national security adviser, will probably do it.


ZAHN: Even though she is now in Washington, the home of the Redskins, Condoleezza Rice says her all-time favorite football team has always been the Cleveland Browns. That's because when Rice was younger, Cleveland games were also broadcast in her hometown of Birmingham.

That is it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Next week, Harry Potter casts a second spell. We're going to have a profile of the young wizard. I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for joining us. Bye-bye.


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