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Lynne Sladky, Associated Press
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks to delegates during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice keeps insisting she's not a politician and not interested in elected office. Indeed, her tone at the Republican National Convention was markedly different than that of the other speakers.

For example, few of the speakers — mostly elected officials and longtime politicians — begin by greeting the boisterous crowd as "distinguished delegates."

Rice, of course, is America's former top diplomat and a longtime academic, and she's known for a more formal speaking style, as befits her professions.

Yet despite the academic cast to her words, her address was overtly political, as she described for the crowd what she called a nation at risk of falling into decline and told the crowd that America cannot "lead from behind."

And the crowd did not respond formally — instead giving her several rounds of clamorous standing ovations.

— Sally Buzbee