(CNN) - The State Department is staying mum when it comes to the details of Sen. Hillary Clinton's private dinner with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Monday night.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the two met for two hours at Rice's Watergate apartment in downtown Washington, and discussed a range of issues.
"They talked just very generally about policy – the challenges, the opportunities, talked a little bit about the job of secretary of state; talked about the quote-unquote 'building' here – managing a big operation," McCormack said.
But McCormack declined to get into specifics, saying instead he expects Clinton and Rice to hold several more meetings.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Sunday took partial responsibility for the troubled occupation of Iraq, saying the government was not properly structured to handle the problems the United States faced after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime.
When asked by Fox News' Chris Wallace if former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had mismanaged the occupation in Iraq, Rice said the war started well but that it was a mistake not to give responsibility for the occupation solely to the military.
"I take responsibility for that, too," she said. "We just didn't have the right structure."
Rice was President Bush's national security adviser when the U.S. invaded Iraq in the spring of 2003 and was responsible for coordinating the activities of the Defense Department, the State Department and other national security agencies.
Rice, however, said she believes that the overthrow of Hussein would eventually be viewed as a "great strategic achievement" for the Bush administration and the United States.
"You now have a young democratic, multi-ethnic, multi-confessional Iraq that has just signed an historic agreement with the United States establishing a long-term relationship. ... That's a trade up," she said.
Rice also echoed the sentiments of her boss, President Bush, saying she wished the intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs had been better.
"I would give anything to be able to go back and to know precisely what we were going to find when we were there," she said. "But that isn't the way that these things work."
But Rice said the administration's decision to invade Iraq was the right one at the time, saying the risk that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction was unacceptable.
"While it's fine to go back and say what might we have done differently, the truth of the matter is we don't have that luxury. And we didn't at the time," she said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday that she believes Sen. Hillary Clinton will "do a great job" as secretary of state.
In an interview with CNN, Rice also addressed President-elect Barack Obama's victory, saying she believes Americans were "wise in wanting change."
Speaking to CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer," Rice said she has spoken with Clinton since Obama named the former first lady as his pick to be the nation's top diplomat.
"I talked with her and we're going to sit down, and I'm really looking forward to it. I've known her a long time and she is someone that I admire."
Though the two are from opposite political parties, Rice seemed to spare no praise for Clinton, who lost her battle for the Democratic presidential nomination to Obama.
"I've known her for a long time, ever since she brought her freshman daughter to Stanford, when I was provost at Stanford. I think she's going to be terrific," Rice told ABC's "This Week."
She added, "President-elect Obama has made his choice, and he's made a terrific choice. Hillary Clinton is somebody of intelligence, and she'll do a great job. She also has what's most important to being secretary of state, and that is that you love this country, and you represent it from a basis of faith in its values. And I know that she will do that.
"I've watched her - I watched her do it at the conference in Beijing on women. I know that she was someone who felt strongly about the Balkans and the need to stop that terrible killing there. So, from that point of view, she's going to be great."
In her interview with CNN, Rice described Obama's national security team as "people I know, and they are all people of substance. And the most important thing is that they are all people who are going to have the fundamental interests and values of the United States at the core of what they do."
Having grown up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama, Rice said Obama's election was "quite a moment. It means this country has come an enormous distance. "It means that the United States of America is what it claims to be, which is a place of opportunity for all. I don't think, by the way, that we're still color-blind. It's remarkable that we have an African-American president.
We've had back-to-back African-American secretaries of state. We have African-American heads of major corporations. "But still, we see race and that's fine. But increasingly we don't see race as all-defining, of who one is and what one can be. As long as we pay attention to opportunity - to making educational opportunities available, which is really what got me to where I am and I think President-elect Obama would tell you the same thing."
Asked whether she would help Obama if he asks, Rice responded, "He is not going to need my help. He has got plenty of help. But of course, he is someone that I admire. He was on my committee, the Foreign Relations Committee. We have talked a number of times. He is going to do very well for the country.
"But eight years is a long time. The American people are wise in wanting change. Two terms is plenty. And I'm going to go back to California and on to other things."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - He has thrilled sports fans for over twenty years with his hitting and fielding exploits. But can Major League baseball star Ken Griffey, Jr. hit a grand slam for the State Department?
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice named Griffey a public diplomacy envoy Tuesday, tasking the All-Star slugger with spreading "the values of the United States" in large part by helping to spark "interest in America and in our culture."
"Public diplomacy must be a dialogue," Rice said after meeting with Griffey in Washington. "This dialogue must extend to every citizen in every country, especially to young people."
She noted that Griffey is uniquely qualified to engage young people given his stature as one of the best-known players in what is arguably the country's most famous sport.
"This is quite an honor," Griffey noted. "I think youth is the most important thing. (I am) looking forward to this opportunity to teach kids (and help) develop them."
(CNN) – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave CNN praise for prospective Republican vice president Sarah Palin’s qualifications this weekend.
“She’s governor of a state here in the United States,” Rice told CNN’s Zain Verjee. Asked whether Palin’s experience had adequately prepared her for the foreign policy challenges she’d face as president, she added that “there are different kinds of experiences in life that help one to deal with matters of foreign policy.”
Last month, Rice offered unqualified praise of opponent Joe Biden’s diplomatic credentials. “Biden is obviously a very fine statesman.”
The contrast fuels questions that have hung over Rice’s political loyalties this cycle, as she maintained silence over her presidential pick.
Two months ago, she told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that she had made a decision on which candidate would get her vote this fall – but that she wasn’t prepared to share who that might be.
(CNN) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she knows who she’s voting for in the presidential election, but she’s keeping quiet about her pick.
“Have you decided who to vote for?” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked in an interview that aired Sunday on “Late Edition.”
“Wolf, uh, yes,” Rice said.
Asked if she wanted to share her decision, Rice simply responded, “No.”
In the wide-ranging interview, Rice praised Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign and said having him as the Democratic presidential nominee has been “great for our country.”
“I do think it says that we've come a long way,” she said when asked to respond to comments from her predecessor Colin Powell, who congratulated Obama for knocking down barriers for African Americans.
“It's interesting that it's from Colin Powell. He knocked down a few barriers of his own. He knocked down the barrier of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He knocked down the barrier to the first black Secretary of State.
“Yes, I've knocked down a few too. It just shows that our country has been doing this for a while, and it's great that this last barrier, perhaps, has also come down.”
Rice also made clear that she has no desire to be vice president.
(CNN) - A roundup of quotes from the Sunday political talk shows, as compiled by the CNN Wire:
"I think that the U.S. government provides an awful lot of aid to Pakistan, provides a lot of military support to Pakistan. And to send a clear message to Pakistan that this is important, to them as well as to us, that I think - that message has not been sent."
-Sen. Barack Obama, on how to engage Pakistan to help improve security in Afghanistan, speaking to CBS' "Face the Nation"
"I think the consequences could be very dangerous in that regard. I'm convinced at this point in time that coming - making reductions based on conditions on the ground are very important."
-Adm. Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the possibility of a timeline for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, speaking to "Fox News Sunday"
"I think it sends a signal that there is one, that eventually we do want to bring our troops back, and that... with where we are, conditions are improving in Iraq."
-Mullen, on President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's talk of a "general time horizon," speaking to "Fox News Sunday"
(CNN) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told CNN Friday that the administration’s decision to engage in a diplomatic dialogue with Iran did not mean it was softening its tough stand on negotiations with that country over its nuclear program.
"I am prepared to go and talk to my counterpart any pace, any time, any where. But there really must be a suspension - a verifiable suspension of their enrichment and reprocessing," she said.
The No. 3 diplomat at the State Department will meet with an Iranian nuclear negotiator in Geneva, Switzerland Saturday, in what some observers had described as a major reversal of the Bush administration's tough stance against meeting with Iran on nuclear issues – a shift Rice denied.
“I acknowledge that what we've done is to make a step that we think demonstrates to everyone our seriousness about this process,” Rice told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “But what has not changed is that the United States is determined to have negotiations only when Iran has suspended its enrichment and reprocessing. That's when the United States can join.”
Rice has often been pegged as a likely vice presidential candidate – though the former Stanford University has insisted she’s looking forward to a return to academic life when her stint at the helm of the State Department ends.
Watch Blitzer’s full conversation with Rice on Late Edition this Sunday, starting 11 a.m. ET.
(CNN) – Condoleezza Rice has said she has no desire to be John McCain's running mate, but a new poll out Wednesday suggests that duo could beat the Democratic ticket in the bluest of states.
In a new poll conducted by Marist College and WNBC, a McCain-Rice ticket would beat a ticket that includes both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in New York - a state that reliably votes for the Democratic candidate. (In 2004, John Kerry beat President Bush there by nearly 20 points. In 2000, the margin between Al Gore and Bush was an even higher 25 points.)
But should McCain and Rice team up, the poll suggests the two Republicans would carry New York, defeating a Clinton-Obama ticket by 3 points (49-46 percent) and an Obama-Clinton ticket by 5 points (49-44 percent.)
The poll comes days after a leading Republican strategist suggested Rice, contrary to her own public statements, is engaging in a behind-the-scenes campaign to land a spot on McCain's ticket. Former Bush administration official Dan Senor made the suggestion on ABC Sunday, noting Rice's recent appearance at the weekly meeting of Americans for Tax Reform - a leading organization of Republican insiders - as evidence she is attempting to cozy up to the conservative elite.
That suggestion immediately had Beltway insiders speculating on the potential advantages Rice would deliver, especially in light of the fact the Democratic presidential ticket will either feature a woman or an African-American for the first time in American history.
Rice herself attempted to put the speculation to rest Tuesday, saying, "I very much look forward to watching this campaign and voting as a voter - I have a lot of work to do and then I'll happily go back to Stanford."
But with polls like this, it's likely some Republicans hope she reconsiders.
(CNN) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dismissed rumors on Tuesday she is angling to be John McCain's running mate, telling reporters she plans to head back to Stanford University.
"I very much look forward to watching this campaign and voting as a voter," she said. "I have a lot of work to do and then I'll happily go back to Stanford."
Rice served as Provost at Stanford from 1993-1999, and remains a tenured professor there.
"Senator McCain is an extraordinary American," Rice also said of the presumptive Republican nominee. "A really outstanding leader and obviously a great patriot."