Condoleezza Rice Gets Personal

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Did you share notes with President Bush, whose memoirs are coming out soon?
From time to time, he's asked me whether my role in certain events was portrayed accurately. His book will be fascinating -- his perspective is different from mine -- and I think taken together with my foreign policy book, it'll give a pretty complete picture of the eight years. But no, we didn't share strategies.

Have you given any thought to how your prominence as an African American in the White House may have helped pave the way for the first black president?
I don't reflect on that too much, though the country overall has seen a huge evolution since I was a little girl in Birmingham. I don't think we'll ever be colorblind but certain steps and advances have been taken so that the color of someone's skin isn't as loaded an issue as it once was. You don't look at the color of someone's skin and automatically make assumptions of whether they can or cannot do something. That may be part of an evolution Colin Powell and myself and others have participated in.

Would you consider that you've lived a fulfilled life if you never get married or have kids?
Yeah, I will. I won't have kids [laughs] but I may still get married. But I would have lived a very fulfilled life if I had gotten married and had kids, too. But I'm very religious and I at some very deep level believe that things are going to work out as they're supposed to. The key is to be open to that and to appreciate the life that you've been given.

How long do you plan to stay at Stanford? In the book, you kept leaving.
Forever. That part of the book read as funny to me. I hadn't realized how many times I'd come and gone. I love it here. I'm a university person. I love teaching. I like the students. I love the world of ideas. A place like Stanford is not cloistered because it's the epicenter of the Silicon Valley, so you meet extraordinary, incredibly innovative people all the time. I love the sports, I love the artistic life. And it's beautiful Northern California.

Is managing a sports team still something you dream of doing?
It's the only thing that would get me to leave Stanford [Rice is a professor of political science at the university]. But I have always taken life one step at a time. When my students come to me and they've got their 10-year plan about what they're going to do when they're 31, I always say just figure out the next thing you're going to be doing, and enjoy that, do it well, and see where it leads.

You say you won't run for office -- any chance you'll change your mind?
I don't see myself as having that fire. But you never know. Like I said, it's about figuring out the next thing and seeing where it leads.


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