Republican National Convention
Wednesday, August 02, 2000

Bush to stay low-key on foreign policy

He wants to avoid promises he can't keep, delegates told

By Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PHILADELPHIA - Condaleeza Rice, George W. Bush's chief foreign policy adviser, told Ohio delegates Wednesday they won't hear the Texas governor making any promises on the campaign trail on how he will run America's foreign policy.

        “Governor Bush told us early on in the campaign that we are not going to say anything about foreign policy that we don't intend to do,” said Ms. Rice, a foreign policy analyst who worked in President George Bush's White House and who many expect would become national security adviser if his son is elected.

        In the 1992 campaign, she said, Bill Clinton promised how a Clinton administration would deal with foreign affairs, and found he could not follow through when he reached the Oval Office.

        Presidential candidates have done that through history, she said.

        “There is a tendency to engage in blue rhetoric and say you are going to do something you can't possibly do,” she said.

        During the 1992 campaign, Ms, Rice said, Mr. Clinton and vice presidential candidate Al Gore - now the Democratic nominee for president - used terms like “butchers of Beijing” to describe Chinese leaders' oppression of Chinese dissidents.

        Then, after becoming president, the Clinton administration found itself promoting China as one of the U.S.'s principal trade partners.

        Ms. Rice, who was one of the featured speakers at the seond evening session of the convention in Philadelphia's First Union Center, has been making the rounds of delegation meetings in key electoral vote states as one of the Bush campaign's principal surrogate spokespersons.

        If she is appointed to head the National Security Council, she would be the first African-American woman to hold a senior position at the White House.

        She was invited to the Ohio delegation breakfast by Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, who has known her since he was the Bush administration's ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in the late 1980s.

        “Condy Rice is an exceptionally bright, able person,” Mr. Blackwell said. “She is going to be a superstar.”

        While Ms. Rice has White House experience as the Bush administration's chief Soviet analyst, the 2000 election is her first experience in a national presidential campaign.

        She said it is rare that voters focus on foreign affairs in an election campaign.

        “It is not uppermost in most people's minds,” Ms.Rice said. “They tend to think about it most when the president comes to the Oval Office, looks at the TV camera and says, "my fellow Americans, we have something hard we have to do.”

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