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IN THE NEWS - Condoleezza Rice Nominated as Secretary of State - 2004-11-20

Broadcast: November 20, 2004

I’m Steve Ember with In the News in VOA Special English.

President Bush this week nominated his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, to replace Colin Powell as secretary of state. Mister Powell resigned.

Condoleezza Rice has had a long relationship with the Bush family. She worked on the National Security Council when President Bush's father was president. She is an expert on the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

She became a political science professor at Stanford University in California in the nineteen eighties. Later Condoleezza Rice was a top administrator there.

She advised George W. Bush during the two thousand presidential campaign. Once in office, he appointed her his national security adviser. This week he named her deputy, Steven Hadley, to replace her.

Condoleezza Rice had her fiftieth birthday last Sunday. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama, during the time of racial separation laws in the South. She is a classical pianist and an ice skater, and is known as a big sports fan.

"Condi" Rice, as she is known, would be the first African American woman as America's top diplomat. The only other woman was Madeleine Albright, appointed by President Bill Clinton.

President Bush called Secretary Powell "one of the great public servants of our time." Colin Powell was a solder in the Vietnam War. Later, as a general, he served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also served for a time as national security adviser when Ronald Reagan was president.

Yet his moderate positions on issues like Iraq often clashed with those of Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

For the past four years, Condoleezza Rice has not said much publicly about her opinions. She is considered more conservative on foreign policy than Colin Powell. But critics say she did not do enough to ease tensions between the State Department and the Defense Department. She was also criticized for the way the administration dealt with terrorism threats before the attacks of September eleventh, two thousand one.

Condoleezza Rice is expected to win Senate conformation as the next secretary of state. Some people say her strong ties to Mister Bush will be helpful because governments will know she speaks for the president. Others say they worry that she will be less open to dissenting opinions and debate because of her loyalty.

President Bush announced her nomination on Tuesday. That was a day after the White House announced the resignation of Colin Powell and the secretaries of agriculture, energy and education. Commerce Secretary Don Evans and Attorney General John Ashcroft resigned earlier.

Among the replacements nominated are White House counsel Alberto Gonzales as the new attorney general. The president also chose his domestic policy adviser, Margaret Spellings, as secretary of education.

In the News, in VOA Special English, was written by Cynthia Kirk. I'm Steve Ember.