Condi Rice: Obama knocked down ‘last barrier’ in politics
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer talked with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice about Barack Obama’s candidacy. Rice said that it was “great” that Obama had knocked down the “last barrier” of opportunity for African-Americans in politics. Rice said that she had decided who to vote for but refused to endorse an candidate.
BLIZTER: You’ve made it clear that you don’t want to be Vice President of the United States. How clear have you made — in other words, have you told the Republican nominee, in effect, “you know what? Don’t even consider me.”
RICE: Wolf, I’ve said it to everybody who will listen. Through you and everybody else. I’ve done my part. I’ve got six months to sprint to the finish. Then I want to go back to California. I want to write a serious book about American foreign policy. There are issues that have come to concern me greatly. Some that I was concerned about before I came here like the state of education in the United States which, I think, is at the root of our competitiveness, at the root of our confidence and, therefore, it’s at the root of our international leadership. I’ll go back and work on issues like that and it will be time for somebody else to take the stages.
BLITZER: Does John McCain know that?
RICE: Wolf, I’ve said it to everybody that will listen.
BLITZER: Including —
RICE: Wolf — I’ve said it to everybody who will listen.
BLITZER: I assume he probably knows that. One final question. Your immediate predecessor, Colin Powell, I interviewed him many times. He said this to Tavis Smiley back in January about this race and about the phenomenon of Senator Barack Obama. He said this.
POWELL: Let’s enjoy this moment where a person like Barack Obama can knock down all of these old barriers that people thought existed with respect to the opportunities that are available for African-Americans. And my congratulations to him.
BLITZER: Now, you grew up in the segregated south. You know what racism is in our country. The fact that Barack Obama’s now the Democratic presidential nominee, what does that say to you —
RICE: I think it’s great and I think it’s great for our country. And I do think it says we’ve come a long way. It’s interesting it’s from Colin Powell. He knocked down a few barriers of his own.
BLIZTER: And you obviously have as well.
RICE: He knocked down the barrier to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He knocked down the barriers to first black Secretary of State. Yes, I’ve knocked down a few too. It just shows that our country’s been doing this for a while and it’s great that this last barrier, perhaps, has also come down.
BLITZER: Have you decided to vote for?
RICE: Wolf, yes.
BLITZER: You want to tell us?
BLITZER: You don’t have to.
RICE: Thank you.
This video is from CNN’s Late Edition, broadcast July 20, 2008.