Romney Considering Pro-Choice Architect of Bush Foreign Policy for VP

Terence P. Jeffrey | July 13, 2012 | 12:47am EDT
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President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2008. (White House photo/Eric Draper)

( - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has put former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “near the top of the list” of his potential running mates, the Drudge Report revealed Thursday evening.

Rice favors legalized abortion--calling herself "mildly pro-choice"--and was a leading architect of President George W. Bush’s foreign policy, which aimed, as Bush put it in his second inaugural address, at “ending tyranny in our world.”

Rice served as national security adviser in Bush’s first term and as secretary of state in his second.

In a March 11, 2005 interview with the Washington Times, which was posted online in its entirety by the State Department, Rice explained why, as “a deeply religious person” she was nonetheless “pro-choice” on abortion.

“What is your thought on abortion?” a Washington Times reporter asked Rice.

“I believe--if you go back to 2000 when I helped the President in the campaign, I said that I was, in effect, kind of libertarian on this issue, and meaning by that, that I have been concerned about a government role in this issue,” said Rice.

“I am a strong proponent of parental choice, of parental notification,” said Rice. “I am a strong proponent of a ban on late-term abortion. These are all things that I think unite people and I think that that's where we should be.

“I've called myself at times mildly pro-choice,” she said.

“Yeah, mildly pro-choice,” she said. “That's what that means. I think that there are a lot of things that we can unite around and that's where I would tend to be. I am very comfortable with the President's view that we have to respect and need to have a culture that respects life. This should be an issue pretty infrequently because we ought to have a culture that says that, ‘Who wants to have an abortion? Who wants to see a daughter or a friend or, you know, a sibling go through something like that?’

“And so I am a--I believe the President has been in exactly the right place about this, which is we have to respect the culture of life and we have to try and bring people to have respect for it and make this as rare a circumstance as possible,” said Rice.

A reporter then pointed out to Rice that “there is a school of thought that says that no conservative Republican can be elected President if they're not firmly pro-life.”

“I'm not trying to be elected,” said Rice.

The reporter said: “But it sounds like you do not wish to change the laws that now allow—"

“Well, I don't spend my entire life thinking about these issues,” said Rice. “You know, I spend my time really thinking about the foreign policy issues. But you know that I'm a deeply religious person and so, from my point of view, these extremely difficult moral issues where we have--where we're facing issues with technology and the prolongation of life and the fact that very, very young babies are able to survive now, very small babies are able to survive; these are great moral issues.

“What I do think is that we should not have the federal government in a position where it is forcing its views on one side or the other,” said Rice. “So, for instance, I've tended to agree with those who do not favor federal funding for abortion because I believe that those who hold a strong moral view on the other side should not be forced to fund it.”

Two days later, on March 13, 2005, Rice appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where host Tim Russert clarified her position about whether abortion should be legal or illegal.

“You told the Washington Times on Friday you were mildly pro-choice. What does that mean?” Russert asked.

“It means that, like many Americans, I find the issue of abortion very difficult,” said Rice. “I believe it ought to be as rare as possible. Nobody wants to see anyone go through that. I favor parental notification. I favor a ban on late-term abortion. But I, myself, am not a fan of having the government intervene in the laws.”

“You would not outlaw it?” asked Russet.

“No,” said Rice.

Serving as President Bush’s secretary of state, Rice was an outspoken advocate of a U.S foreign policy that focused on promoting regime change in the cause of advancing democracy and ending tyranny.

House International Relations Chairman Henry Hyde, who had been a key advocate of the policies that helped President Reagan win the Cold War without dispatching U.S. troops to engage in armed conflicts around the world, was a conservative critic of the Bush policy.

As secretary of state, Rice promoted this policy to Congress and with U.S. allies, and forcefully argued it was the right strategy for the United States in the Middle East.

“But in the long term, as the president has said, the only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror and replace hatred with hope is the force of human freedom,” Rice told Hyde's House International Relations Committee in February 2005.

“President Bush has charged the men and women of the Department of State with helping to create a balance of power in this world that favors freedom. And I'm privileged to lead them in this effort,” said Rice.

“We understand fully that the path of democratic reform in the Middle East will be difficult and uneven,” she said. “The spread of freedom is the work of generations, but it is also urgent work that can no longer be deferred. From Morocco to Jordan to Bahrain, we're seeing elections and new protections for women and minorities and the beginnings of political pluralism. These are efforts that we must support.

“We must support it with education and cultural exchanges, public diplomacy, broadcasting initiatives and support for those in these countries who want to see a different kind of future and a different kind of Middle East,” Rice told the committee.

“The success of freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq will give strength to reformers throughout the region and accelerate the pace of reforms under way already,” Rice said in that 2005 testimony.

A year later, when Rice returned to the House International Relations Committee, she said the Bush State Department was engaging in “transformational diplomacy” and that the world had entered into a new era in “which centuries of international precedent are being overturned,” nations are "cooperating in peace, not preparing for war," and "Democratic reform has begun in the Middle East."

“I would now like to offer an overview of the current mission of the men and women of the State Department, a mission that we have called transformational diplomacy,” Rice told the committee.

“In his Second Inaugural Address,” Rice said, “President Bush laid out the vision that leads America into the world: ‘It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.’

“The President's vision stems from the recognition that we are living in an extraordinary time, one in which centuries of international precedent are being overturned,” said Rice. “The prospect of violent conflict among great powers is more remote than ever. States are increasingly competing and cooperating in peace, not preparing for war. Peoples in China, India, South Africa, Indonesia, and Brazil are lifting their countries and regions to new prominence. Democratic reform has begun in the Middle East. And the United States is working with our democratic partners in every region of the world, especially our hemispheric neighbors and our historic treaty allies in Europe and Asia, to build a true form of global stability: a balance of power that favors freedom.”

“So,” said Rice, “I would define the objective of transformational diplomacy this way: To work with our many partners around the world to build and sustain democratic, well-governed states that will respond to the needs of their people and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system. This is a strategy rooted in partnership, not paternalism in doing things with other people, not for them.”

At the same hearing where Rice delivered this testimony, House International Relations Chairman Henry Hyde delivered his own introductory speech. Hyde--a World War II combat veteran, who had also served on the House Intelligence Committee--warned of what he called the “perils of the Golden Theory.”

“Viewed in its more complete historical context, implanting democracy in large areas would require that we possess an unbounded power and undertake an open-ended commitment of time and resources which we cannot and will not do,” Hyde told Rice. “But without that long-term dominant American position, the odds of enduring success are long, indeed.

“Fidelity to our ideals means that we have little choice but to support freedom around the world. No one with a heart or a head would wish it otherwise,” Hyde continued. “But we also have a duty to ourselves and to our own interests, which may sometimes necessitate actions focused on more tangible returns than those of altruism.

“We must also be cognizant of the fact that a broad and energetic promotion of democracy may produce not peace and stability but revolution,” said Hyde. “We can and have used democracy as a weapon to destabilize our enemies and we may do so again. But if we unleash revolutionary forces in the expectation that the result can only be beneficent, I believe we’re making a profound and perhaps uncorrectable mistake.

“History teaches that revolutions are very dangerous things, more often destructive than benign, and uncontrollable by their very nature,” Hyde said.

“There is no evidence that we or anyone can guide from afar revolutions we’ve set in motion,” said Hyde. “We can more easily destabilize friends and others and give life to chaos and to avowed enemies than ensure outcomes in service of our interests and security.”

Before joining the Bush administration, Rice had been a professor at Stanford, where she also had served as provost. After Bush left office, she returned to the Stanford faculty.

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