Condoleezza Rice steals show with speech at Republican convention

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks during the third session of the Republican National Convention.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice brought foreign policy clout to the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, condemning what she described as a stark failure of leadership by President Barack Obama.

In her most significant return to the national stage since leaving the State Department, Rice criticized Obama’s handling of uprisings in the Middle East, said the United States has fallen behind China in international trade and has not moved far enough toward energy independence under the Democrat, whom she did not mention by name.

“We cannot be reluctant to lead, and you cannot lead from behind,” said Rice, who was greeted with loud cheers by standing, sign-waving delegates.

Rice, the face of foreign policy under Republican President George W. Bush, was part of a lineup of speakers designed to assure Americans that foreign policy would be handled well under Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, and his vice presidential running mate, Paul Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin.

Neither man has extensive international experience.

Romney’s attempts to show some clout in foreign affairs have resulted in several stumbles.

He deemed Russia the biggest geopolitical threat America faces, something policy analysts agreed has not been true for years. Romney’s critics say that in bashing Obama’s record, he has failed to outline his own plans for handling global problems.

Rice also avoided specifics but said the Republican candidates would provide strong leadership.

“Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will rebuild us at home and they will help us lead abroad. They will provide an answer to the question, ‘Where does America stand?’” she said.

Rice largely avoided politics after leaving the State Department in 2009 and has insisted repeatedly that she is not interested in elected office.

But she has played an increasing role in politics this year, campaigning for Romney and other Republican candidates, particularly women.

A rare prominent black woman in a party long viewed as a bastion of white, male power, Rice seemed to be auditioning for something more in her wide-ranging speech, one of the best-received of the Tampa convention.

Rice touted Romney’s positions on domestic issues such as education, called for a “compassionate” immigration policy and told her own story – of an African-American girl who grew up in the segregated U.S. South, then became the first black woman to become secretary of state.

“She’s a very elegant speaker,” said Janice McConaha-Komer, an alternate delegate from Texas. “She certainly is good for us women. She definitely represents women very favorably.”

NO MENTION OF AFGHANISTAN

Rice, 57, recently stepped into the spotlight in another way.

On August 20 the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, home of the Masters golf tournament, ended an all-male policy that had endured for 80 years by admitting its first two women members, one of them Rice.

The club had admitted its first black member in 1990.

Rice’s appearance was a rare reminder during Romney’s convention of Bush, the last Republican president, who left office with a 34 percent approval rating. He appeared in Tampa only in a videotaped tribute to his father that was not shown during the convention’s prime-time television slot.

Rice was involved in some of the most controversial aspects of Bush’s presidency, including the war in Iraq. The only reference to Iraq in her speech was when she cited its struggling new democracy.

She made no mention of the ongoing war in Afghanistan, which began in 2001 when she was Bush’s national security adviser but is strongly connected with Obama’s greatest foreign policy triumph, the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

Ahead of the convention’s turn to diplomacy, Romney delivered a scathing criticism of Obama’s foreign policy in a speech in Indianapolis on Wednesday.

He accused Obama of weakening America’s place in the world, setting the tone for the convention speeches by Rice and another Republican foreign policy heavyweight – Arizona Senator John McCain.

An Obama’s campaign spokeswoman lashed back, accusing Romney of using “reckless bluster and vague platitudes” to try to score political points.

In his speech, McCain – who was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam conflict – criticized Obama for the U.S. government’s leaks of classified information.

Rice’s name emerged in July as a possible vice presidential running mate for Romney, but the speculation faded quickly. Politically, Rice falls to the left of Romney on controversial domestic policy issues such as abortion and gay marriage rights.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.