April 08, 2004

You probably didn't know this about Condoleezza Rice
By Maki Becker
from the New York Daily News
via the Kansas City Star [requires free registration]
NEW YORK - National security adviser Condoleezza Rice is set to make a dramatic appearance Thursday before the Sept. 11 commission to testify about her knowledge of White House efforts to battle terrorism.
Panel members have said they want to ask Rice, who will be testifying under oath, what Clinton administration officials told the incoming Bush White House personnel about al-Qaida and what the new administration did with the information.
Rice is also sure to be quizzed about charges by former White House counterterror chief Richard Clarke that Bush and his most senior aides were slow to act against the al-Qaida threat despite Clarke's warnings beginning days after Bush took office in 2001.
But beyond her role as a core member of Bush's inner circle, there's a lot more to Condoleezza Rice than most Americans know.
1. She's a fitness buff who likes to unwind by working out to music by heavy-metal legends Led Zeppelin, according to People magazine. She wakes up at 5 a.m. and hits the treadmill right away.
2. She was a college graduate at 19, getting a degree from the University of Denver.
3. She once had a Chevron oil tanker named after her when she served on the company's board of directors. After concerns that her name made the ship a more inviting terror target, the tanker was renamed Altair Voyager.
4. She loves to shop. "On a Sunday, don't be surprised if you see me at one of the malls in Washington, D.C.," she once told Glamour magazine.
5. She has been telling friends she's tired of the rat race and will leave her job at the end of the year to return to academia.
6. She began playing piano at age 3.
7. While in high school, she was a competitive ice skater.
8. She turns 50 this year.
9. She's the daughter of two Birmingham, Ala., high school teachers.
10. A kindergarten classmate was among the four girls killed in the 1963 bombing of a Baptist church by white supremacists.
11. She was a Democrat until 1982.
12. She speaks Russian, French and Spanish.
13. She's a huge football fan and loves the Cleveland Browns. She's said her "dream job" would be NFL commissioner.
14. When she was 14, a guidance counselor told her that her standardized test scores showed she wasn't college material.
15. She's single and laments she has no private life. A sometime escort at official functions, however, is former San Francisco 49ers star Gene Washington.
16. In 1993, she was named provost of Stanford University, the youngest person, first woman and first black to get the job.
17. In February 2001, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told reporters he was distracted the first time he met her. "I have to confess, it was hard for me to concentrate in the conversation with Condoleezza Rice because she has such nice legs."
18. She loves to serve up Southern cuisine and is a master at seafood gumbo and fried chicken.
19. She says she can fall asleep just about anywhere - even once in a helicopter flying over the Gaza Strip.
20. In 1993, after Rice left the White House, where she worked for the current President's father, to join the Stanford faculty, she told the San Francisco Chronicle the advice she'd give to President Bill Clinton about Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein: "He is an outlaw, but I would be careful about trying to do anything to act to overthrow him."

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