Think Progress reports:
In an interview with C-SPAN's Washington Journal today, Washington Post reporter Glenn Kessler, author of Confidante: Condoleezza Rice and the Creation of the Bush Legacy, revealed that after President Bush promoted her to Secretary of State, Rice mounted a "public relations" campaign to distance herself from the pre-war fiasco.
As part of this PR campaign, she directed an aide to "plant a question" asking if she would run for President, in order to help "negate American memories of her very direct role" in invading Iraq:[Quoting Kessler] She had a very deliberative public relations strategy when she became Secretary of State to help erase the images of how ineffective she had been as National Security Adviser. And I describe how one of her aides even planted a question with a friendly journalist to ask whether she would be interested in running for president — to give her the aura of someone who might have presidential aspirations, make her seem more powerful than she was.
NBC News MEET THE PRESS
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Guests: Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State; Reps. Tom Davis, R-Va, Chairman, Government Reform Committee; Henry Waxman, D-Calif., Ranking Member, Government Reform Committee; Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I.
Moderator/Host: Tim Russert, NBC News
MR. RUSSERT: Before you go, let me show you some photographs on the screen: Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams, Van Buren, Buchanan. What do those six men have in common?
DR. RICE: Oh, Tim, that's too tough for a Sunday morning.
MR. RUSSERT: They were all presidents of the United States that were at one time secretary of state.
DR. RICE: Ah, OK. All right.
MR. RUSSERT: In light of that, I was up on the Internet last night and found this Web site, www.americansforrice.com. And it features these bumper stickers and this song.
Unidentified Man: (Singing) Condoleezza will lead us. Sister, don't you worry about a thing.
MR. RUSSERT: Should that Web site be removed?
DR. RICE: Look, it's freedom of speech. But let me say, I don't have any desire or intention of running for president. I've never wanted to run for anything, and I just don't have any desire to do it.
MR. RUSSERT: Desire or intention?
DR. RICE: Both.
MR. RUSSERT: There was a great American named General William Sherman. and this is what he said, "If nominated, I will not accept. If elected, I will not serve." Will you issue a Shermanesque statement?
DR. RICE: Tim, I don't want to run for president of the United States.
MR. RUSSERT: "I will not run"?
DR. RICE: I do not intend to run for--no. I will not run for president of the United States. How is that? I don't know how many ways to say "no" in this town. I really don't.
MR. RUSSERT: Period? Period? I will not run as president of the United States.
DR. RICE: I have no intention. I don't want to run.
MR. RUSSERT: "I will not run."
DR. RICE: I think people who run are great. I don't want to run.
MR. RUSSERT: That is a Shermanesque statement?
DR. RICE: Shermanesque statement.
MR. RUSSERT: You're done. You're out.
DR. RICE: I'm done.
MR. RUSSERT: There's news.
DR. RICE: I hope not.
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.
Would it be irresponsible to speculate? It would be irresponsible not to!
Perhaps Mr. Kessler names the friendly journalist in his book, and perhaps it's not Pumpkinhead. But the picture of Tim Russert "up on the internet" the night before his interview with "Dr." Rice, and "finding" a Rice for President website in the middle of his research seems as likely as the unlikeliest of impossibilities that are never going to happen in this or any other lifetime. The questions fit into Russert's pattern of obsequiousness toward the Bush Admiminstation. (See Cheney, Dick.) And what legitimate journalist would ask Condi such a fluffer (and hump it to death) and what other news outlet would allow such a q-and-a to see the light of day?
(Thanks to my sensitive gag reflex for the tip.)