In an interview on NBC's "Today Show" this morning, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice admitted she doesn't miss the pressures of her former job, adding that now, when she hears breaking news, she doesn't "have to do anything about it."
"It's nice to be out of the pressure-cooker, frankly," she acknowledged to "Today" host Meredith Veiera.
Rice, who was on "Today" to promote her new memoir, "Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me," spoke about her childhood in Birmingham, Alabama, and defended some of the more controversial foreign policy initiatives from the Bush administration.
"History has a long arc, not a short one," Rice said to Veiera, when asked if she was surprised about the U.S.'s ongoing presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. "When you're talking about changing really decades and decades - even centuries - of behavior, where people are trying to remove themselves from tyranny and learn to live with democratic institutions, it's going to take some time."
Rice also discussed her relationship with current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - and said that while she doesn't speak with her regularly (because "when you're in that job, you really don't need people chirping from the outside"), Clinton "knows where to find me, and a couple of times she has found me."
"I'm there for her, absolutely," Rice said.
Rice, whose book addresses her upbringing - and not her time in the White House -said she chose to write first about her childhood because she wanted people "to know that I didn't somehow come full-blown from the head of Medusa."
"This was a family that nurtured and believed in education, and a community that did the same under really incredible circumstances of segregation," Rice said.
"I'm an optimistic person," she added. "I've seen democracy triumph. I even saw a little girl from Birmingham, Alabama become Secretary of State."
Lucy Madison is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.