Condoleezza Rice: True Believer

Katie Couric Profiles America's Secretary Of State

Life is very full for this 51 year old overachiever, a woman who graduated from college Phi Beta Kappa at age 19. She's treated like a rock star and everything from her sense of style to her possible suitors is the subject of endless gossip. Esquire readers voted her the woman they'd most like to take to dinner.

Rice acknowledges her prominent position and hectic schedule makes it difficult to have a social life.

"How does one go about asking the Secretary of State out on a date?" Couric asks, laughing. "Hi, Madame Secretary? Listen."

"Well, I won't even go there on the second question. But I have got great friends and people that I see."

Asked if she'd like to get married one day, Rice says, "Oh. Wouldn't we all love to find somebody that you'd want to live the rest of your life with? Sure. But I never thought you'd want to get married in the abstract."

"You wanna get married to someone. And so I've just never particularly want to get married to someone. But who knows? Maybe one of these days," she adds.

But these days she's consumed by waging war and promoting democracy. And when she defends her position, this former Stanford professor can at times sound like she's lecturing a class.

"I'm a true believer in the process of democratization as a way to overcome old wounds. And I believe that if we don't do that, then people who have had their differences, people who have resolved their differences by violence or by repression, are never going to find a way to live peacefully together," she says.

"Is it really priority number one in terms of philosophically and pragmatically for the United States to be spreading democracy around the world?" Couric asks.

"Well, first of all, the United States is not spreading democracy. The United States is standing with those who want a democratic future," Rice explains.

And the future is what she focuses on. A passionate student of history, Condi Rice believes turmoil often precedes periods of peace and stability.

And she rejects the notion that the U.S. is a bully, imposing its values on the world.

"What's wrong with assistance so that people can have their full and complete right to the very liberties and freedoms that we enjoy?" Rice asks.

"To quote my daughter, 'Who made us the boss of them?'" Couric remarks.

"Well, it's not the matter of being the boss of them. It's speaking for people who are voiceless," Rice says.

"You have said that your goal was, quote, 'To leave the world not just safer but better.' Right now Iraq doesn't seem safer," Couric remarks. "Iran and North Korea have not fallen into line. Do you honestly believe that the world is safer now?"

"The world is safer because we're finally confronting these terrorists. We're finally confronting this challenge," Rice says. "And so I think we are safer. We're not yet safe. And I know that I'm not going to see the final outcome of the Middle East that we described as democratic and prosperous and, in that way, truly stable. But all that I can do on my watch is to try to lay a foundation so that that will become the Middle East of the future. And I think we've done a great deal to begin to lay that foundation."
Produced By Tom Anderson