WASHINGTON President Bush named Condoleezza Rice as his new secretary of state on Tuesday, continuing the metamorphosis of his foreign policy team by elevating a black daughter of the segregated South to one of the world's elite government jobs.
"The secretary of state is America's face to the world," Bush said during the announcement in the White House Roosevelt Room. "And in Dr. Rice the world will see the strength, the grace and the decency of our country."
And at State Department headquarters in Washington's Foggy Bottom area, employees will see a new boss more finely attuned to the president's way of thinking than was the old boss, Colin Powell. Bush and Rice both paid tribute to Powell, whose resignation was announced Monday, ending a tenure in which he often was a voice of moderation against a backdrop of administration hawks including Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who has deflected questions about whether he will be around for the second term.
Perhaps seeking to allay skepticism from some at the State Department who might be concerned about the arrival of a top presidential confidant, Rice took care to offer words of praise for the "great people of the Foreign Service and the Civil Service" at the department.
"One of my highest priorities as secretary will be to ensure that they have all the tools necessary to carry American diplomacy forward in the 21st century," she said.
Also Tuesday, Bush announced his selection of Stephen Hadley to replace Rice as national security adviser. Hadley has been serving as Rice's top deputy. In another change at the State Department, Richard Armitage, Powell's top deputy, will be leaving.
The changes and more to come are part of a second-term merry-go-round now spinning at the White House. It began last week with the resignations of Commerce Secretary Don Evans and Attorney General John Ashcroft and continued Monday with the announcements of the resignations of Powell, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and Education Secretary Rod Paige.
Bush is expected to name longtime aide and White House Domestic Policy Adviser Margaret Spellings as his new secretary of education, a decision that could be announced as soon as Wednesday.
In putting Rice at the State Department, and with Spellings' expected appointment, Bush continued a developing trend of placing White House insiders in key agencies. Last week, he named White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales to replace Ashcroft at the Justice Department.
Additional changes, if not announced today, will probably wait until after Thanksgiving. Bush heads to South America on Thursday and will spend next week at his Crawford, Texas, ranch.
Speculation on more Cabinet changes now centers on Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, each of whom has indicated a desire to leave their government posts.
Medicare chief Mark McClellan, the brother of White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, is a possible Thompson replacement.
Potential replacements for Ridge include Frances Townsend, the White House homeland security adviser; Asa Hutchison, a Homeland Security Department undersecretary for border and transportation security; Thomas Kean, former New Jersey governor who headed the Sept. 11 commission; and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who was in charge of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
In elevating Rice, Bush now has a secretary of state more attuned with his aggressive foreign policy. Powell, though called on to defend Bush's decision to invade Iraq, at times questioned Bush's strategy.
Some of that strategy is ripe for scrutiny when Rice goes through Senate confirmation, a process the White House expects to be vigorous.
"I'm sure that there are going to be a lot of questions raised during the confirmation process," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan, adding, "And she has talked at length about some of these issues already."
The probing is sure to include her role in the run-up to the war in Iraq and the flawed intelligence concerning Iraq's weaponry. In 2002, Rice said aluminum tubes headed for Iraq were "only really suited for nuclear weapons program." It was later disclosed that a year earlier Rice's staff found out that top nuclear experts doubted the suitability of the tubes for use in nuclear weapons.
Rice is a Bush loyalist whose ties to the family stretch back to her service as President George H.W. Bush's top Soviet expert.
Rice, who turned 50 on Sunday, has had a non-traditional path to front-row roles in major historical events. She was born in Birmingham, Ala., the daughter of educators who made sure their only child got a quality education despite segregationist practices that worked against it. It was her mother, Angelena Bay Rice, who came up with the unusual first name for her daughter. She began with the musical phrase "con dulce," a notation for a passage to be played with sweetness, and evolved it into Condoleezza.
Rice's parents work in education led to opportunities not open to most young Southern blacks at the time. In 1963, Rice's hometown of Birmingham was wracked by the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Four young black girls, including a kindergarten classmate of Rice, died in the bombing.
"As a girl in the segregated South," Bush said Tuesday, "Dr. Rice saw the promise of America violated by racial discrimination and by the violence that comes from hate."
The family spent summers in Colorado, where young Condoleezza's parents were taking graduate courses at the University of Denver. The Rices moved to Denver when their daughter was 11. John Rice eventually served as vice chancellor at the University of Denver.
As a youth, Condoleezza Rice pursued two passions - figure skating and playing the piano. She once joked about ice skating as "high-priced child care." And she said her ambition of become a concert pianist faded when she realized she was "well on my way to a career in a piano bar someplace or teaching 13-year-olds."
It was during a junior-year course at the University of Denver that Rice linked up with a passion she efentually turned into a career. The inspiration came from Joseph Korbel, a former Czech diplomat who headed the university's highly-regarded Graduate School of International Studies.
Korbel alro was the father of Madeleine Albright, secretary of state in the Clinton administration.
"For reasons I don't understand," Rice later recalled, "I was incredibly attracted to Russian history and Soviet studies."
Her path to the federal government payroll began in 1986 when she met Brent Scowcroft, later the national security adviser for the first President Bush, and he got her involved with the Aspen Strategy Group, which dabbles in "new thinking" on national security.
When Scowcroft went to the White House, he brought Rice, who had been teaching at Stanford University, on board as a Soviet specialist as the world watched the Iron Curtain implosion.
In 1991, Rice returned to Stanford and eventually became provosp at age 38 in 1993.
Her path to the second Bush administration was a direct result of her links to the first. In 1995, the elder Bush asked Rice to accompany him to Austin to visit his son, the then-governor.
By 1998, Rice was on board as a top adviser as Bush worked to get up to speed on foreign policy.
"We are big sports fans, so we had an immediate link," Rice has said of the first meeting.In a nod to their shared love of sports, Bush said Tuesday, "As many of you know, Condi's true ambition is beyond my power to grant. She would really like to be the commissioner of the National Football League. I'm glad she's put those plans on hold once again. The nation needs her."
Birthplace: Birmingham, Ala.
Experience: National security adviser; National Security Council; Hoover Senior Fellow, professor of political science, provost, Stanford University.
Dream job: National Football League commissioner.Politics: Democrat who switched parties in 1982.
Deseret Morning News wire services