Condi Compared to Colin
MADRID, June 1 -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice finally made it to Spain today, 2 1/2 years after taking up her post. The socialist Spanish government has been in the U.S. diplomatic doghouse ever since it abruptly pulled its troops out of Iraq.
Rice is barely spending any time here -- just six hours on the ground in a whirlwind series of meetings. But when the conservative party -- whose government was a strong Bush ally -- was in power, this magnificent city was visited probably every six months by Rice's predecessor, Colin L. Powell.
Powell, in fact, had such a close partnership with the-then foreign minister, Ana Palacio, that they spoke almost every day. During joint news conferences, Palacio's eyebrows would flutter when Powell lauded her and their working partnership. (Palacio later became World Bank counsel when Paul Wolfowitz became president.)
During a visit on May 1, 2003, Powell and Palacio strolled at length along the grounds of the La Quinta del Pardo, a 17th century palace in Madrid, looking at rosebushes and swans while chatting animately. Meeting with reporters later, Powell remarked: "The Minister is not exaggerating when she says that we speak to each other on a very regular basis. Frankly, it is almost daily. There is seldom a day that goes by when I do not hear from Ana, and as I'm going home in the evening, I always ask my staff, 'Has Anna called yet?'"
Of course, on that same trip, Powell later flew to Damascus, Syria -- another place that Rice has yet to visit.
-- Glenn Kessler
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