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CNN PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
Profiles of Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld
Aired November 20, 2004 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, President Bush turns to a familiar face to be the secretary of state.
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CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Mr. President, it is an honor.
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ANNOUNCER: She graduated from high school at the age of 15.
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PROF. COLT BLACKER, STANDFORD UNIVERSITY: She's been a prodigy all her life.
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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 advisor.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And she's become a family member almost because she spends so much time with the president.
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ANNOUNCER: She weathered tough questions from the 9/11 Commission.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a lot of criticism of Rice after that, a feeling that perhaps she had not been aggressive enough.
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ANNOUNCER: Now, there are questions concerning how she'll handle being America's top diplomat. The story of Condoleezza Rice, then, he's the out spoken secretary of defense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: And that's the last question.
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ANNOUNCER: A standout wrestler in his youth, he came to Washington with his eyes on pinning the old guard.
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FRANK CARLUCCI, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: He wanted to change the establishment. He's always been a change agent.
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ANNOUNCER: He first served as defense secretary under President Ford.
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GERALD FORD, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I knew Don was a great person on integrity.
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ANNOUNCER: After toppling Saddam Hussein's regime, winning the peace in Iraq has proved more difficult.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iraq is just not safe.
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ANNOUNCER: A look at Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Their stories now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Hi, welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, I'm Paula Zahn. She is one of the most powerful women in the world and one of President Bush's closest advisors. Now, Condoleezza Rice is the president's choice to succeed Colin Powell as secretary of state, but the choice is not without controversy. Rice's tenure as national security advisor has led to some harsh criticism, especially concerning her decisions and actions right before the attacks of 9/11. Here is 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 U.S. foreign policy, there's nothing sugary about secretary of state nominee Condoleezza Rice.
C. RICE: Good afternoon.
COLLINS: In the early days of the administration, as national security advisor, pundits wondered if she would be able to hold her own.
C. 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, a pilot that, you know, was sort of a superhero from the last administration. You got these, like, you know, two tough white guys.
COLLINS: But with a full term under her belt, the 50-year-old foreign policy guru left no doubt, she is a key member of the president's inner most circle.
DAVID BOSCO, STAFF WRITER, "FOREIGH POLICY" MAGAZINE: All the indications are that he relies on her to a great degree and that she has access to the president in a way that few other people do.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I urge the Senate to promptly confirm Condoleezza Rice as American's 66th secretary of state. Congratulations.
COLLINS: On Tuesday, President Bush nominated the loyal confidant as his next secretary of state. She would replace Colin Powell, a moderate who occasionally found himself at odds with the White House.
MASSIMO CALABRESI, DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT, "TIME" MAGAZINE: The most significant way she's likely to differ from Colin Powell is in having the trust of the president. Powell never hit it off with the president.
COLLINS: Though she'll have the president's trust, her transition may not be so easy.
BOSCO: There was a lot of tension between the White House staff and the State Department. There was a feeling on the part of the State Department that they perhaps had been ignored a little bit in the deliberative processes that led up to the Iraq War. And so, I think she's going to have to overcome some of that suspicion of her role.
COLLINS: As national security advisor, Rice consistently towed the administration's line. She was among the first to advocate a pre- emptive strike against Iraq. She came under fire from the 9/11 Commission over her handling of the al Qaeda threats before the terrorist attack.
C. RICE: But I do want to describe some of the actions that were taken by the administration prior to September 11.
CALABRESI: There were key questions of how known threats and alerts that came through the system in the summer of 2001 were handled at the National Security Council.
COLLINS: Her loyal White House service has raised concerns from critics about her future performance at the State Department. LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I do not believe that you should in secretary of state someone who has spent their last four years in the White House next to the president. I do believe you need some tension between the State Department, the Defense Department and the National Security Council.
COLLINS: For better or for worse, the president and Condoleezza Rice share a deep working relationship and a close personal friendship.
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, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, BALITMORE COUNTY: 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. She even became a champion-level ice skater.
CONNIE RICE: And we had fun. It wasn't joyless, but there was -- it 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. Condi 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.
C. 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 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, 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.
ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
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. C. 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.
IVO DAALDER, THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTE: 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.
BLACKER: Since Condi 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.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congratulations!
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 Scocroft, 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, Scocroft 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: Russian 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 here 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, of what her -- you know, this 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, they young gun goes head-to-head with the big guns.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I, George Walker Bush, do solemnly swear...
BUSH: I, George Walker Bush, do solemnly swear...
COLLINS (voice-over): The interminable 2000 election was finally settled and George W. Bush became the 43rd president of the Unites States.
BUSH: ...so help me God.
COLLINS: 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 advisor.
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 cares about how she looks.
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. 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.
C. RICE: Well, there is no doubt that Americans need to be vigilant. They need to be patient about the security measures that are there at airports, at borders.
COLLINS: More than two years later, questions over the September attacks continued to plague the administration. This past spring, after resigning as White House counterterrorism chief, Richard Clark, blasted the Bush team. In his testimony before the 9/11 Commission, Clark accused the administration of downplaying early warnings of possible terror attacks.
RICHARD CLARK, FORMER COUNTERTERRORISM CHIEF: I believe the Bush Administration in the first eight months considering terrorism an important issue but not an urgent issue.
BOSCO: Criticism in particular by Richard Clark led many to have the view that Rice had not pushed the agencies, pushed the Defense Department, pushed the FBI, pushed the CIA to aggressively go in and see what information might have been caught up in the agencies and wasn't coming down the pipe.
COLLINS: The president and Rice later gave in to demands from the 9/11 Commission for her testimony. But during the grilling, the national security advisor stood her ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think he did say that, Dr. Rice. In a private interview to us, he said he asked to brief the president of the United States...
C. RICE: I have to say -- I have to say what's -- my recollection...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You say he didn't?
C. RICE: ... never asked me to brief the president on counterterrorism.
CALABRESI: There was a lot of speculation that she was going to come out battered and bruised. What was predicted to be a pretty aggressive questioning up on the Hill, and in fact, came out looking quite professional and composed.
COLLINS: Throughout President Bush's first term, Rice worked just down the hall from the Oval Office. Her close proximity to the president, both literally and figuratively, 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've just got this direct line. It's just, you know, between Bush and Rice that they're the same generation, you know, and I think it really makes a difference. So, yes, of course, everybody at one point or another is going to sort of be jealous of her, I would think.
COLLINS: She actively dispelled notions that she was edging out Colin Powell.
C. 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: But she had to deal with continual infighting between Powell and Rumsfeld.
BOSCO: She was thrust into a position that I think was in many ways one of the most difficult that a national security advisor has had to deal with in terms of the Iraq War where you had a Pentagon that was very aggressively pushing the way and a State Department that was much more cautious.
COLLINS: Throughout her term, no one has questioned Rice's dedication to her job, and that's led some outsiders to wonder if the unmarried 50-year-old is all work and no play.
BLACKER: If Condi 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 Condi'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 Condi Rice.
C. RICE: Thank you, got to go.
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 high-powered presidential confidant, will probably do it.
ZAHN: Though Condoleezza Rice must still be confirmed by the Senate, she might not have to wait very long. The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar, says he's trying to arrange a confirmation hearing for early December.
ANNOUNCER: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, his second go- around as defense secretary has been filled with triumphs and controversy.
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KEN POLLACK, BROOKINGS INSTITUTE: If Iraq goes badly; I think that Secretary Rumsfeld will probably be portrayed as one of the great culprits in this.
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ANNOUNCER: Donald Rumsfeld under fire when we return.
ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. With ongoing offensives against insurgents in Iraq, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is back in the spotlight. He's back under the microscope facing renewed scrutiny over his handling of the occupation of Iraq. Here's Jamie McIntyre.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's been one of the most influential and controversial members of the Bush Administration.
BUSH: You are a strong secretary of defense, and our nation owes you a debt of gratitude.
MCINTYRE: A Washington power player who went from Navy pilot to Congressman to two-time secretary of defense.
RUMSFELD: The only thing that the coalition will discuss with this regime is their unconditional surrender.
MCINTYRE: Never shy of the spotlight, he took center stage during the war on Iraq. He took heat over the continuing struggles to secure the country, and he took the blame for one of the United States' most notorious failures in Iraq.
RUMSFELD: These events occurred on my watch. As secretary of defense, I am accountable for them. And I take full responsibility.
MCINTYRE: He's weathered calls for his resignation. Now as coalition and Iraqi forces launch a new offensive against insurgents in Iraq, and as the Bush Administration prepares for a second term, he's a man whose legacy is on the line.
POLLACK: If Iraq turns out well, then Rumsfeld's legacy in Iraq may actually be pretty good. On the other hand, if Iraq goes badly, I think that Secretary Rumsfeld will probably be portrayed as one of the great culprits in this.
MCINTYRE: Donald Rumsfeld, the man with the distinction of being both the oldest and the youngest secretary of defense in U.S. history.
Throughout his life, Rumsfeld has been a competitor. As an honor student at Chicago's Nutriar High School, he played half back on the football team and dominated the wrestling mat.
CARLUCCI: He had come out of Nutriar High School as 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 a 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 stockbroker, 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.
CARLUCCI: 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 to 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.
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'll never happen. You know when you're doing a wonderful job with Rumsfeld when he gives you more things to do.
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 Percales 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'll solve it." I said, "Solve it? What do you mean?" So I take that draft from him and I look at the introduction, and he says, "As Percales should have said."
MCINTYRE: When we come back, Rumsfeld's political star rises in the face of scandal.
JEFFREY KRAMES, AUTHOR, "THE RUMSFELD WAY": He has the rare distinction of being in the right place at the right time and avoiding the wrong place at the wrong time.
ANNOUNCER: Now back to 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 -- you know, 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, you know, serving as 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.
DAVID HUME KENNERLY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER: 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 to 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.
JIMMY CATER, 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 stockbroker many years earlier, who had zero experience in the business world. And he wasn't coming in, you know, sort of 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. 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.
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, helped 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don, welcome.
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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir.
MCINTYRE: He returned to the business world in 1990, taking the helm of electronics firm, General Instrument. He also participated in Bob Dole's '96 presidential run, but it would be an election four years later that would bring him back to the halls of power.
MCINTYRE: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, the old hawk ruffles feathers as he returns to the Pentagon and faces calls for his resignation.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
MCINTYRE (voice-over): January 2001, George W. Bush becomes the 43rd president of the United States, his choice for defense secretary, his father's former rival.
MICHAEL O'HANLON, THE BROOKINGS INSITUTE: I am surprised that George Bush, the son, could forgive the sleights at his father's expense from Rumsfeld a quarter of a 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: 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 "Washington Post" piece, naming successors for the secretary.
MCINTYRE: Four days after that "Washington Post" piece, on September 11, the Pentagon and the whole country were jolted into a new reality.
KENNERLY: You know 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 is AN 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's first fight for the right in the post 9/11 world was taking out the Taliban in Afghanistan. Rumsfeld pushed military planners to think outside the box, to use more Special Forces and air power and put fewer U.S. troops on the ground. The Taliban fell, but an important part had got away.
O'HANLON: I think you have to say he got the invasion phase right. He got the manhunt for bin Laden wrong and he contributed to a mediocre stabilization effort after the Taliban was out of power. On balance, I'd say it's roughly a 50/50 record.
MCINTYRE: Rumsfeld would further challenge the military over its initial plan for invading Iraq.
RUMSFELD: It didn't reflect any of the lessons from Afghanistan, that it didn't reflect the current state of affairs in Iraq.
O'HANLON: To Rumsfeld's credit, he allowed himself to be talked out of this initial plan where he thought maybe 30,000 to 50,000 American troops would be enough to overthrow Saddam Hussein. He went much more in the direction of the Army, closer to 250,000.
MCINTYRE: Coalition forces overthrew Saddam Hussein's regime in less than three weeks.
POLLACK: The plan for taking down Saddam's regime was a fine one. Clearly, the United States knew what it was doing and had the forces available. By the same token, I think it's also become clear that we didn't have a very good plan for handling post-war Iraq. We did not have enough troops.
MCINTYRE: The job of planning for post-war Iraq also came under Rumsfeld's oversight.
O'HANLON: This is the clearest example of where when Rumsfeld and Powell arm wrestled in this administration, Rumsfeld usually came out on top. The mission to stabilize Iraq once Saddam was gone was naturally a State Department kind of mission. It required politics, economics, rebuilding, financing, foreign aid, and of course, military presence. It's just the kind of thing the secretary of state job was created to oversee, but Rumsfeld won the job.
MCINTYRE: But the job has not gone smoothly. Although Rumsfeld and the Bush administration point to successes in rebuilding Iraq, the country remains racked by violence. Suicide bombers and insurgents have made security a critical problem.
POLLACK: Iraq is just not safe. And that insecurity is a tremendous problem for Iraqis in all aspects of their life, their daily lives, their economic activities, everything that you can imagine all comes back to security, and it's their greatest complaint about the failures of the United States.
MCINTYRE: However, in April, security issues in Iraq were overshadowed by something even more disturbing -- photos and videos showing the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers.
SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), VIRGINIA: This is not the way for anyone who wears a uniform of the United States of America to conduct themselves.
MCINTYRE: Rumsfeld was called before Congress and as secretary of defense, took full responsibility.
RUMSFELD: So to those Iraqis who were mistreated by members of the U.S. Armed forces, I offer my deepest apology.
MCINTYRE: In the fallout of the Abu Ghraib scandal, calls mounted for Rumsfeld to step down.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: Mr. Rumsfeld has been engaged in a cover-up from the start on this issue and continues to be so.
MCINTYRE: However, President Bush gave his secretary of defense his full support.
BUSH: You are courageously leading our nation in the war against terror. You are doing a superb job.
MCINTYRE: With President Bush winning a second term, there's already speculation about what his new cabinet will look like and how long the now 72-year-old Rumsfeld will be asked to and want to stay.
O'HANLON: Rumsfeld loves his job and it does not tire him out. A lot of people 20 years younger would be much more fatigued. And Rumsfeld has a number of works in progress, to put it mildly, with Iraq near the top of the list but also other kinds of missions, such as changing the military's basing around the world. There is a lot of Donald Rumsfeld that I think would be tempted to stay on in a second term if he were asked to.
MCINTYRE: However long his tenure, Rumsfeld will remain a lightening rod for criticism over the continuing war on terror and the situation in Iraq, something he says comes with the job.
RUMSFELD: That's the nature of the world we live in. You know, if you do something, somebody's not going to like it. Therefore, you've got a choice. You can go do nothing, or you can go do something and live with the fact that somebody's not going to like it.
MCINTYRE: And Donald Rumsfeld will never be accused of doing nothing.
ZAHN: The sweeping cabinet changes in the Bush Administration have only fueled speculation that Donald Rumsfeld will also step down. The secretary, however, is giving no hints, saying only that he hasn't even discussed his future with the president since the election.
And that is it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for joining us, hope you'll be back with us next week.
ANNOUNCER: Be sure to pick up a special issue of "People" magazine this week, "People's Sexiest Man Alive".
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