washingtonpost.com  > Politics > Bush Administration

Rice Is Named Secretary of State

Powell Successor Must Be Confirmed by Senate

By Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 17, 2004; Page A01

President Bush named his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, to succeed Colin L. Powell as secretary of state yesterday, turning to a confidante at a time when the White House is vowing to mend ties with Europe and put more energy into brokering Middle East peace.

Rice, who tutored Bush in foreign policy when he was Texas governor and sat at his side through two wars, will head seven blocks, from the West Wing to Foggy Bottom, to take charge of diplomacy for a president who values bluntness, and to try to assert control over a department that some at the White House consider hostile territory.

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Rice, who turned 50 on Sunday, appeared with Bush at a Roosevelt Room ceremony where he called the secretary of state "America's face to the world."

"In Dr. Rice, the world will see the strength, the grace and the decency of our country," Bush said, before kissing her on the right cheek. "The nation needs her."

Aides said Bush, seeking more discipline and harmony in his war cabinet, had discussed the job with her for weeks and perhaps months and never seriously considered anyone else.

Bush said his new national security adviser will be Rice's deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, a low-key lawyer and Ohio native who is a former principal of the Scowcroft Group consulting firm. Hadley, 57, won Bush's trust as a member of his first presidential campaign's foreign policy team, which was known as the "Vulcans."

Rice, who will be fourth in line of succession to the presidency, will be the first African American woman in the job. She is a classical pianist, was a Stanford University provost and political science professor, and specialized in the former Soviet Union as a National Security Council official for President George H.W. Bush. She once was an intern in the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Bush referred in his remarks to her childhood in Alabama during segregation, tying her experience to what he called the nation's "great calling of history to aid the forces of reform and freedom in the broader Middle East so that that region can grow in hope, instead of growing in anger." He added: "Dr. Rice has a deep, abiding belief in the value and power of liberty, because she has seen freedom denied and freedom reborn."

White House officials predicted that the deployment of Rice will tighten Bush's control over his national security apparatus and end the public sparring among members of his war cabinet. Powell, who saw himself as pragmatic, clashed repeatedly with Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on such matters as how to reach out to Europe and when to go to war with Iraq.

Bush's aides believed that Powell, who did not attend yesterday's ceremony, allowed his dissenting views to seep anonymously into news accounts and the foreign policy community. Republican officials acknowledged that the public is likely to learn even less about the inner workings of the war cabinet. They said the selection of Rice will also mean that fewer competing views will be available to a White House that brooks little dissent.

A former administration official who met often with Bush and Rice said the appointment is a signal to Bush's critics that he will continue to pursue a foreign policy of "defending American interests, and doing so unapologetically."

Aides said Bush and Rice know each other so well they have conversations based on body language, with maybe four words exchanged.

Lawrence S. Eagleburger, who was secretary of state under Bush's father, told CNN that Rice is "not the person for that job" because the whole administration "is going to speak the same language" rather than considering various views. But another well-known Republican said Rice has the stature to promote "coalition building and outreach in an administration that has relied on confrontation."

Rice frequently makes Bush's case on Sunday talk shows, and she warned six months before the invasion of Iraq that Saddam Hussein could deploy a nuclear weapon, saying that the administration did not "want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." Bush picked up the phrase in a speech a month later. Officials who have left the administration have said she was a loose administrator, allowing disputes to fester within the National Security Council. Rice's image suffered last year amid questions about Bush's claim that Iraq had sought uranium in Africa, an assertion that the CIA had warned the NSC against repeating.

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