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Rice's Flick Picks

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By Al Kamen
Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Reporters know that once the deadly dull policy-wonk questions are asked and evaded by administration officials, some off-the-wall inquiries can be most revealing. This is especially the case when the subject is as sharp as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice .

So last weekend in Beijing, after the obligatory chat about serious matters -- North Korean nukes and the deadly terrorist attacks in London -- Fox News Channel's James Rosen asked: "What movies have you watched the most . . .?"

"There are probably a couple," Rice said. " 'Casablanca' I watch whenever it comes on. . . . 'Here's looking at you, kid' -- who doesn't love that line? I love Humphrey Bogart . I love everything about that movie. It's in many ways my favorite movie."

Who isn't thrilled at that scene where the French all stand in Rick's bar and sing "La Marseillaise" to defy the Germans who are to steal France's personal colony, Morocco? (Unclear how Moroccans react to this.) "But I'll give you a real scoop," Rice said, warming to the inquiry. "I've also watched 'The Way We Were,' " the Barbra Streisand - Robert Redford flick, and " 'Trading Places,' " the Eddie Murphy - Dan Aykroyd comedy, "many, many times."

"I generally don't watch movies of redeeming value," she said. "I tend to take them as entertainment."

" 'Spiderman II'?" Rosen asked. "You saw that?"

"I did. I liked it," Rice said.

"Do you ever wish you were a superhero?" Rosen asked. "Sometimes, sure," she said. (Okay, so the obvious follow-up -- Which? -- wasn't asked.) And does she think it is important to have an African American woman on the Supreme Court?

"I think there will be," she said, noting U.S. strides over the years and adding: "I'll bet that many people haven't thought about the fact that it's been awhile since there was . . . a white male secretary of state -- Madeleine Albright , Colin Powell and now me."

Then Rosen lobbed this one: "Do you believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin of President Kennedy ?"

Rice's finely honed antenna shot up. "I have no idea," she said. "And I've actually never -- never been a conspiracy theorist, a person who read those stories very much."

Nice try, James.


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