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Condoleezza Rice in the 2000 Presidential Campaign

Although she had studied political science throughout her college career and had advised the first President Bush on the Soviet Union during that government's ultimate demise, until 1999 Condoleezza Rice had never involved herself in a political campaign.

Condoleezza Rice had her first real conversation with George W. Bush just before he decided to run. He felt that his knowledge of foreign policy might be lacking. His father asked Condoleezza Rice to talk with him and the two "hit it off". George W. Bush found a foreign policy advisor who was smart, eloquent, and who largely agreed with his political perspective. Rice found George W. Bush intelligent, thoughtful, and always asking the right questions.

In the midst of the campaign season John Rice, her father had a heart attack while he was being interviewed by a reporter. The doctors thought he was brain-dead. They recommended that he be taken off life support, but his wife Clara refused to allow it. He revived several days later with his intellect intact.

Condoleezza Rice found herself becoming more involved in the campaign than she had intended. She had originally seen herself as just an advisor, but she became a favorite of reporters. Soon she was giving speeches for George W. Bush and participated in the "W stands for Women" tour. At the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia she gave a speech that illustrated why she was in the Republican party and why she felt it was the true home of black people.

The 2000 election ended up in a dead heat with Florida being the deciding state and Dade county holding the deciding precinct. This was a heavily Democratic area. The ballots had been created by the Democrats, but they subsequently declared that they were confusing and that the people of Dade County were deliberately disenfranchised, blaming it on the Republicans. After several recounts, votes remained in favor of George W. Bush over his challenger Al Gore. The supreme court ordered an end to counting, and George W. Bush was declared the winner. Subsequent research by major news outlets would find that the Florida count was accurate and Bush was the actual winner.

With George W. Bush going to the White House, Condoleezza Rice, as one of the new President's top advisors found herself catapulted to the position of National Security Adviser. Just before he died (around Christmas 2000), her father had the satisfaction of seeing his daughter's appointment on television.

Next Page: Condoleezza Rice as National Security Adviser


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