Rice says candidates should appear interested in foreign policy
November 20th, 2011
09:43 AM ET
11 years ago

Rice says candidates should appear interested in foreign policy

(CNN) - In a week when Herman Cain said he was “not supposed to know anything about foreign policy,” the most recent Republican secretary of state said candidates needed to at least to have a symbolic interest in America’s foreign affairs.

“First of all, a potential president has to know the role of the United States of America and that it's an exceptional role, that we have, in fact, been willing to bear a lot of burdens over the last 60 plus years in order to promote a balance of power favor that favors freedom,” Condoleezza Rice said in an interview airing Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Candidates did not have to know every tiny detail of foreign policy, but they did need to present themselves as interested and engaged, Rice said.

“I would say to the candidates, yes, you don't have to know the ins and outs of foreign policy because nobody would expect that kind of exposure,” Rice said. “But the basis of foreign policy, you can master those during the campaign. And it's important for the American people to know that you care enough about these issues to do that.”

As for promises from the candidates about how they’d handle America’s engagement in Afghanistan, Rice said she listens with the knowledge that things might change.

“It's not surprising that people are trying to find an end in sight,” Rice said. “But I don't listen all that closely, on the campaign trail, to ‘I will do this and I will do that,’ because the day you arrive in the Oval Office, it looks different.”

On Hamid Karzai, Rice said America’s only choice was to work with him, despite recent comments that suggest the Afghan president would side with Pakistan in a potential conflict with the United States.

“We have no option but to work with him as the elected president of Afghanistan,” Rice said. “We have no option but to try and work with the elected government of Pakistan. But the thing that really is the problem here is the extremism in Pakistan, and, I think, a rather head in the sand approach by the Pakistani government to what's going on around them.”

As for the possibility of another stint in the cabinet of a Republican president, Rice said she’s happy being a member of the faculty at Stanford University.

“I am a happy university professor,” Rice said. “I'm going to remain one. I will be very happy to give somebody my e-mail and my phone number and California is not that far away for a phone call.”

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Condoleezza Rice • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Liz the First

    They should 'appear' interested?????????????? how about BEING interested, and while they're at it, INFORMED???????? typical rethug blather. make people think something, never mind if it's true. God help us from these wackos!! they've done enough damage to this country. they all need to go crawl back under their rocks.

    November 20, 2011 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  2. Keith in Austin

    Cain and Obama are both TOAST next year. Hey Libbies, Does that make me a racist?

    November 20, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  3. Chumlee

    Rice is a nothing. She was a Bush puppet and continues to be so. She has no validity.

    November 20, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  4. ST

    Politics and leading is about impression. How other countries will be impressed by US if those who want to lead them have no knowledge at all of their countries!

    November 20, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  5. vic , nashville ,tn

    When its comes to Foreign Policy Republicans has zero knowledge , Go back and watch 2008 democratic party primary debates foreign policy questions and answer all the candidates gave excellent answers.

    We had Best economy and best foreign policy Bill Clinton years. G.W Bush and republicans destroyed that

    November 20, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  6. 100% ETH

    No one is here illiterate to be a candidate. These...Nigerian B.S.Descendants, they think everyone is Monkey like them.
    Go and find a Husband. You will never married until when?
    May be in San Francisco...

    ,,,if eye get married, my Husband will share the US secrets,,,?

    November 20, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  7. JoeW-in-PA

    I love this, " \they have to present themselves as interested and engaged"! They don't really need to be interested and engaged just present themselves as such. This is a grim reminder of how Ms. Rice presented herself as interested and engaged in the dumdubya regime. Cut us all a break and go hide uner a rock somewhere. Honestly this woman actually wants to come out and speak and offer her advice to the Americcan public, republican candidates and potentially a new neocon regime in the White House. Folks, there have been hundreds of thousands killed as the result of the pre-emptive Cheney-Bush-Rice policies. This, not to mention 911 where Ms Rice in her official capacity stated that "nobody ever thought we would be attacked from the sky with jet liners" (nobody except the official U.S. government intelligence community). Oh, and I almost forgot aren't we right around 5000 servicemen killed in your group think war? OMG!

    November 20, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  8. Chris

    The POTUS' primary role is foreign affairs. If he or she only "seems" interested, how can he or she actually care about dealing with challenging problems? The GOP candidates are a mess right now.

    November 20, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. steven harnack

    What happened is that during and after WWII, especially after the atomic bomb, people in Washington found that they liked the power to be able to tell the rest of the world what to do and, since power corrupts, we have become what we once fought against.

    November 20, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  10. Donkey Party

    No follow-up needed to what Liz#1 said.

    November 20, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  11. Old Soldier

    Liz the first: I would think you should see the irony in her comment. She's actually chastising the dumb comments by Cain and the lack of professionalism exhibited by this pack of dumb bunnies. She also laid out a reasonable framework and timetable for them to follow in ginning up for the presidency. I'm no fan of the Bush presidency ... he turned out to be incompetent and a divider of Americans contrary to his platform promises ... but she and Colin Powell were the only truly intelligent and professional members of that highest office. So cut the extremist, partisanship crap and focus with an open mind. Leave the strident, useless hyperbole out. She's no dummy .... don't be one, yourself.

    November 20, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. Malory Archer

    No Keith, that doesn't make you a racist – just half wrong. While the pizza man may be toast, President Obama will win handily over whomever is chosen to drive the GOP clown car in 2012.

    November 20, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. JoeW-in-PA

    Old Soldier

    It's great that someone is "no dummy". However, what matters is how they apply their intelligence. She was indeed a "Bush puppet". Should she have been more than that? Everything Liz the first has stated is SPOT ON. These candidates are generally blithering idiots on most issues, especially foriegn policy. he only one who really knows anything about it in the whole crew are Gingrich and Santorum. And well, they too are generally blithering idiots when you consider their extrme foreign policy views.

    November 20, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  14. GI Joe

    If idiots could learn intelligence, we'd have a world full of geniuses.

    Don't have to worry about any of the republican candidates being in that category. We have what we need in a President - caring, intelligent, and understands other politicians/civilizations all over the world. HE has paid attention and knows how to work with them (without a major war to overtake them). He also knows when the other countries need to be helped to change their positions FOR THE PEOPLE, but doesn't do it unless other countried share the burdens.

    November 20, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |