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Condi Rice’s Non-Denial Denial

The WaPo’s Glenn Kessler reports on Secretary of State Rice’s response this morning to reports of her interest in the Vice-Presidency:

After her spokesman yesterday said “If she is actively seeking the vice presidency, then she’s the last one to know about it,” a reporter today pressed the issue and asked why Rice has not “made sort of a Shermanesque denial about this speculation that you might run for vice president.”

Rice responded with a well-worn refrain: “Let me just say, first of all, that Senator McCain is an extraordinary American, a really outstanding leader, and obviously a great patriot. That said, I’m going back to Stanford or back to California, west of the Mississippi. I very much look forward to watching this campaign and voting as a voter.”

She then ticked off some of the issues on her plate as the nation’s top diplomat, and concluded: “This is obviously a very busy agenda. And here I sit with my Mexican and Canadian counterparts on hemispheric issues. So I have a lot of work to do, and then I’ll happily go back to Stanford.”

As Kessler points out, this isn’t a complete denial of interest in political office. If that’s what Rice wanted to communicate, then she could have followed the example of William Tecumsah Sherman:

Sherman was proposed as a Republican candidate for the presidential election of 1884, but declined as emphatically as possible, saying, “If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept; if elected, I will not serve.”

My guess is that Rice is enjoying the press coverage that’s coming from this on some level. She has no chance of being the Vice-Presidential nominee when you look at this realistically, but it’s probably nice to have the attention of the nation focused on you for a day or two.

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