Rice in 2008: Will she or won't she?

After equivocating in the Washington Times, the secretary of state tells ABC that she won't run.

By Tim Grieve
Published March 14, 2005 1:15PM (EST)

The prospects of Condoleezza Rice as a presidential candidate seemed to move over the weekend from the wouldn't-it-be-nice musings of a few conservative columnists to the maybe-she's-really-thinking-about-it stage. Or did they?

In an interview with Washington Times, Rice offered a big non-denial denial to questions about her plans for 2008. When the Times' editors asked Rice about the possibility of a White House run, she said: "I never wanted to run for anything -- I don't think I even ran for class anything when I was in school. I'm going to try to be a really good secretary of state; I'm going to work really hard at it. I have enormous respect for people who do run for office. It's really hard for me to imagine myself in that role."

It may be hard to imagine, but Rice wouldn't say that it wouldn't happen. The Times' editors asked Rice whether she'd do a Sherman -- that is, whether she'd declare, "If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve." Rice declined. "Well, that's not fair," she said. "The last thing I can -- I really can't imagine it."

The coy game was good enough for Matt Drudge to front the news over the weekend, and Republicans everywhere must have been salivating over the idea of running an African-American woman against Hillary Clinton. But by Sunday, Rice seemed determined to put that fantasy to rest. Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Rice said: "I don't have any desire to run for president. I don't intend to. I won't do it."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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