On the Plane

Rice Postpones Final Briefing on Trip

JERUSALEM, March 26--The moment people had been waiting for -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's summing up of her latest Middle East mission -- has suddenly been delayed.

The reasons are not yet entirely clear. But the Israeli daily Haaretz reported today that Israeli officials were seeking to soften her statement.

The State Department had scheduled an 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. ET) news conference, and Rice planned to open with five to ten minutes of remarks that aides suggested would outline her plan for jumpstarting Middle East peace talks. She has been shuttling for two days between the Israelis and Palestinians trying to work out the language, and she brought along her chief speechwriter, Christian Brose, to help craft her language. Anticipation had been building in the region, and the U.S. television networks planned to carry her speech live.

But after Rice finished meetings in Amman today, one of her aides announced that she would hold her news conference Tuesday morning, just before she departs the region to return to Washington.

Reporters responded with a collective groan. A news conference held in the afternoon, East Coast time, would still seem newsy when editors gathered to lay out the newspaper or put together the evening news. But a news conference at 3 a.m. ET (morning in Israel) will be running on CNN all day and might seem stale by the time newspaper editors gather to make final decisions on Tuesday.

Rice will have say something really big to keep up news interest all day.

--Glenn Kessler

By washingtonpost.com Editors |  March 26, 2007; 12:15 PM ET  | Trip:  Rice in Middle East, March 2007
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she certainly can find ways to make herself appear more foolish with every trip and every statement.

Posted by: kennytal | March 27, 2007 12:01 AM

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