The Rice Report

For those of you keeping score at home, the number on Condoleezza Rice.

April 08, 2004|By Gary Dorsey | Gary Dorsey,SUN STAFF

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice will offer long-awaited testimony today before the national commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Will she rebut Richard A. Clarke, President George W. Bush's former counterterrorism adviser, who sharply criticized her last month for allegedly neglecting concerns about al-Qaida? Will she argue that President Bush was truly focused on terrorism before the attacks? Whatever tack she takes, the book on Rice suggests today's will be a performance worth watching.

Birthdate: Nov. 14, 1954

Birth place: Birmingham, Ala.

Origin of name: Italian musical notation con dolcezza, to play "with sweetness"

Childhood nickname: Little Star

Adult nickname: Warrior Princess

Grandfather's occupation: Presbyterian minister

Father's occupation: Same

Statement on family's slave heritage: "When the Founding Fathers said `we the people,' they did not mean me. My ancestors were three-fifths of a man."

Grades skipped in school: First, seventh

Private lessons taken as a child: Piano, flute, ballet, French, violin, skating

First public performance: On piano, age 4, playing "A Doll's Funeral" at a tea for new teachers in Birmingham

Most notable musical performance as an adult: With cellist Yo-Yo Ma, playing Brahms Violin Sonata No. 3 at Constitution Hall in Washington, April 2002

Most famous published put-down: "Let me explain to you: I speak French, I play Bach, I'm better in your culture than you are."

Age at high school graduation: 15

Age at college graduation: 19

Pivotal point in life: Junior year at the University of Denver, a class with politics professor Josef Korbel, father of Madeleine K. Albright

Consequence: Gave up classical music training for politics

Assessment of politics of the 1960s: "Chaotic and self-indulgent"

Dissertation topic: Communist Party/military relations in Czechoslovakia

Education: Ph.D., University of Denver, international studies

Scholarly emphasis: Soviet Union

President George H.W. Bush's introduction of Rice to Mikhail Gorbachev in December 1989: "This is Condoleezza Rice. She tells me everything I know about the Soviet Union."

Number of times she's read Tolstoy's War and Peace: 2

Language she reads it in: Russian

Party registration before 1982: Democrat

Party registration after 1982: Republican

Reason for change: "I found a party that sees me as an individual, not as part of a group."

Favorite football team: Denver Broncos

Favorite phrase: "Get over it. Move on."

Favorite workout music: Led Zeppelin

Favorite hymn: "I Need Thee Every Hour"

Bible verse Rice reads for strength: Romans 5 ("But we glory in tribulations also")

Marital status: Single

Home: Sparsely furnished apartment at the Watergate complex in Washington

Primary off-hours companions: George and Laura Bush

Commonalities between Rice and the president: Religion, football, sardonic humor, absence of self-doubt, moral standards

Hobbies: Opera, football, baseball, piano

Morning fitness routine: Treadmill, weights

Dream job: National Football League commissioner

Preparation for managing political conflict: Six years as Stanford University provost dealing with faculty fiefdoms

Rank among most admired women in America: 4 (after Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and Laura Bush)

Rank among people American engineers would most like to dine with: 2 (following Stephen Hawking; ahead of Home Improvement's Tim Allen)

Rice's choice for Man of the 20th Century: Harry S. Truman

Expected length of Rice's opening statement to 9/11 commission today: 20 minutes

Expected length of her testimony: 2 1/2 hours

Percentage of voters who approved of President Bush's handling of terrorism and homeland security before Clarke's 9/11 testimony last month: 70 percent

Percentage after Clarke's testimony: 57 percent

Greatest threat facing United States when Bill Clinton left office, January 2001, according to Richard Clarke: al-Qaida

Greatest threat facing United States when Clinton left office, according to Rice: China

Published comment about nation-building efforts of the Clinton administration: The U.S. Army "is not a civilian police force."

Time Rice took to produce early blueprint for Bush administration's foreign policy: Two days.

Clarke's most quoted comment about Rice: "As I briefed Rice on al-Qaida, her facial expression gave me the impression that she had never heard the term before."

Rice's response: "Arrogant in the extreme."

Number of network television appearances by Rice the morning after Clarke's testimony: Four (CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN)

Most famous retracted statement to date: "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center."

Sources: US News & World Report, Time magazine, The Times (London), The Washington Post, Condoleezza Rice: Being the Best by Mary Dodson Wade, The New Yorker, USAToday/CNN/Gallup Poll, Electronic Engineering Times, The Economist, Essence, Newsweek, Salon.com

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