You guys better sit down for this: According to Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney is kind of an asshole! Of course, the former secretary of state is far too classy to say it outright, but she's obviously rather pissed at Cheney for implying in his new book that she cried while talking policy with him. Even powerful ladies are still just overly-emotional basketcases.
As mentioned earlier, in Cheney's book In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir, which was released this week, he calls Rice "naive" regarding North Korea, and says that she eventually came to agree with his argument that President Bush shouldn't apologize for mentioning Iraq looking for uranium in Niger in the 2003 State of the Union address, even though the information turned out to be false. Cheney writes, "She came into my office, sat down in the chair next to my desk and tearfully admitted I had been right."
Rice isn't the only person maligned in Cheney's memoir. According to Politico, he also criticizes George Tenent and Colin Powell, and last weekend on Face The Nation, Powell said Cheney's disclosures are "cheap shots that he's taking at me and other members of the administration who served to the best of our ability for President Bush."
Now Rice has responded in an interview with Reuters. When asked if she agrees with Powell's assessment of their former colleague, she said:
"I am not going to question the vice president's motives, because he is somebody with whom I had a good relationship and for whom I had, and still have, a great deal of respect ... But I have to say that some of the things that he said about his colleagues are not in keeping with the high respect that I have always had for him ... I think they do fall into the category of cheap shots."
As for his assertion that she mishandled the attempt to make a nuclear weapons agreement with North Korea, she says:
"I kept the president fully and completely informed about every in and out of the negotiations with the North Koreans ... You can talk about policy differences without suggesting that your colleague somehow misled the president. You know, I don't appreciate the attack on my integrity that that implies."
She also insists that while she told Cheney he was right about how the press would respond to an apology, any tears in her eyes were entirely in his imagination:
"It certainly doesn't sound like me, now, does it? I would never — I don't remember coming to the vice president tearfully about anything in the entire eight years that I knew him ... I did say to him that he had been right about the press reaction ... And so I did say to the vice president, 'you know, you were right about the press reaction.' But I am quite certain that I didn't do it tearfully."
We're guessing that in Cheney's head, Rice delivered this rebuttal while stamping her foot and pouting.
It's really not that surprising that the man routinely compared to Darth Vader wrote a memoir the New York Times says is, "often pugnacious in tone and in which he expresses little regret about many of the most controversial decisions of the Bush administration." Attacking co-workers isn't really Rice's style, but maybe there's something to be learned from this incident. If she wants to move copies of her memoir No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington, which comes out in November, she should be feverishly inserting passages about Cheney's world-class dickery (and perhaps trying to start a feud with Kanye West).
Powell Fires Back At Cheney Cheap Shots [Politico]
Exclusive: Condoleezza Rice Fires Back At Cheney Memoir [Reuters]
Cheney Says He Urged Bush to Bomb Syria in '07 [NYT]