Posted Monday, Aug. 29, 2011, at 11:53 AM
On the Today show this morning, Dick Cheney discussed his new book, In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir, with correspondent Jamie Gangel. An obviously ailing Cheney--who shows Gangel the battery that's powering his heart (insert Cheney-is-not-human joke here)--talked about how he would water-board terror suspects again in a second, and also about his relationship with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. According to the Atlantic, Cheney describes Rice "as 'tearfully' admitting she had been wrong to urge Bush to apologize for wrongly alleging that Iraq had tried to obtain yellowcake uranium in Niger." Yesterday, Colin Powell said that it was inappropriate to discuss Rice's alleged tears.
Gangel seemed to agree. In the clip below, she takes Cheney to task for his depiction of Rice, saying, "You know that 'tearfully' is a loaded description for powerful women in high office. It’s going to be seen by a lot of people as provocative." To which Cheney responded, "It's an accurate description."
This isn't the first time a book about Cheney has described a crying Condoleezza Rice. According to a 2008 bio of Cheney by journalist Barton Gellman called Angler, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld allegedly made Rice cry because he repeatedly refused to attend meetings she organized about military tribunals for terror suspects as a way to delay the tribunals:
[Rumsfeld] did not regard her as an equal and barely hid it. The opinions of her staff did not interest him. ... Something happened to Rice's face, control melting away. Her eyes welled up and her next words caught in her throat. The men in the room did not know where to look. ... 'She started to cry,' said one of them. 'And she said - I can't remember the exact words because I was so shaken - something like: "We will talk about this again," and she turned and walked quickly out of the door.'
I wasn't in either of those rooms, so I can't verify whether Rice was crying or not. However, it seems like Cheney is gleefully retelling these stories in order to diminish Rice, and make her appear to be too fragile for the office she held. As Colin Powell put it, the whole thing is unecessarily condescending. But hey, at least Condoleezza got some recent love from Col. Muammar Qaddafi. I'm sure that's very professionally satisfying for her.