[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 April, 2004, 21:58 GMT 22:58 UK
Political futures on the line in the US

By Justin Webb
BBC correspondent in Washington

Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's National Security Adviser
Some conservatives see Ms Rice as presidential material
The emerging view in Washington is that Condoleezza Rice's testimony in front of the 9/11 commission is a kind of make or break day for her reputation and perhaps for the future of the Bush presidency.

All four broadcast news networks will carry the hearing live through the morning - a really unusual level of interest.

Millions of Americans turning on to watch soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful will get Condi, who is arguably both of those things, and clever as well.

President Bush treats her with affection and respect.

"She'll be great. She's a very smart, capable person, who knows exactly what took place and will lay out facts. That's exactly what the commission's job is meant to do, and that's what the American people want to see," Mr Bush said.

Some conservative commentators say the decision to have a maximum publicity Condi session is actually not a bad one for the White House.

Jeffrey Kemp of the Nixon Centre says her many strengths will now be shown - and her one weakness as well.

There is pressure among conservatives for her to participate in some way on the ticket in 2008, and there is a great following, in fact, websites exist to push her to run for the presidency in 2008
Mark Goldblatt, National Review

"She is very articulate, very knowledgeable, very poised and makes a very credible case for the administration, with the exception that she can be a bit trite and school marmy," Mr Kemp said.

But most people forgive a little school marmish-ness in a black woman who has educated her way from segregated Birmingham Alabama right the way to the top of a profession dominated by white men.

Her biographer Antonia Felix said: "Because she was growing up in the deep South during the civil rights struggle, her parents told her that she could achieve anything she wanted if she worked hard enough and if she got a great education."

Her parents were very optimistic people, and at one point, they told her that even though you might not be able to go to Woolworth's and sit down at the lunch counter, you can be president someday.

Condi for president?

Could she really be president?

If her testimony goes well, if she wows the commission and the public, if she bats away the questions about whether the White House took terrorism seriously before 11 September, then according to Mark Goldblatt of the National Review she could go all the way.

She has stated on several occasions that she has no political ambitions beyond serving out this term as national security adviser for the Bush Administration, he said.

But he said her testimony could be her political coming-out party.

"I know that there is pressure among conservatives for her to participate in some way on the ticket in 2008, and there is a great following, in fact, websites exist to push her to run for the presidency in 2008," Mr Goldblatt said.

A big day for future President Rice, and indeed for current President Bush, and perhaps for those who want to find out the truth about whether or not this administration failed the nation in the months before 11 September.

The BBC's Michael Buchanan
"She has got a very difficult task to do"

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific