Asked About Huckabee, Rice Defends the President
By Glenn Kessler
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice usually tries to stay out of domestic politics. And at a news conference today, she initially demurred when she was asked about remarks this week by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee -- a leading Republican presidential candidate -- that the Bush administration practiced an arrogant and unilateral "bunker mentality" foreign policy.
"Look, I don't comment on other people's comments," Rice said. "I don't have time, all right. I really don't have time to worry about this."
But then she couldn't help herself. She launched into a lengthy defense of the administration's foreign policy efforts. She cited multilateral efforts to stem problems in Afghanistan, North Korea and Iran. She also claimed that transatlantic relations have rarely been better.
Without mentioning Huckabee by name, Rice asserted: "The idea that somehow this is a go-it-alone policy is just simply ludicrous. One would only have to be not observing the facts, let me say that, to say that this is now a go-it-alone foreign policy."
Rice kept going. "We're working with allies in Europe, Russia and China on Iran. The [NATO] alliance is mobilized together in Afghanistan," she said. "We had 50-plus countries at Annapolis to launch the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. We're working together with allies in Lebanon."
Rice concluded: "I can go on and on and on and on. And so, I would just say to people, look at the facts."
Huckabee's comments, which first appeared in Foreign Affairs magazine, have also drawn criticism from former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, his chief rival in the Iowa caucuses next month.
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