'Idea about America' at stake in election, Condoleezza Rice tells Utahns

Published: Friday, Sept. 7 2012 3:35 p.m. MDT

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, left, and Saratoga Springs Mayor and congressional candidate Mia Love greet each other Friday, Sept. 7, 2012, at Thanksgiving Point at a luncheon supporting Love's run for Congress.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

LEHI — Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday decried what she sees as the Obama administration's failure to maintain America as a land of opportunity.

If the U.S. can't control its spending and keeps borrowing money, nobody will look to it as a place of limitless horizons, she said.

"It reflects a government that has gotten too big, tried to do too many things and frankly not doing most of them very well," Rice said. "The American concept of government has always understood that if the government does everything, the citizen has very little required of him or her."

Rice was in Utah on Friday to raise money for 4th Congressional District candidate Mia Love. About 400 people attended a $100-per-plate luncheon at Thanksgiving Point where Rice spoke for about 20 minutes. Rice has been raising money for the group ShePAC, a national political action committee that has endorsed the Republican mayor of Saratoga Springs.

Love faces six-term Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson.

Rice said she worries that the essence of who Americans are is changing. People who have lost control of their lives due to the economic crisis or housing market crash are finding reasons to not start businesses or go to college.

People start to ask why some have been given so much while they have been given so little, which leads to a sense of entitlement, she said.

"That's what's at stake in the election before us, that idea about America."

Americans are feeling great anxiety over their financial circumstances, but the government continues to stall economic growth with bad policies, Rice said.

Government can do a lot of things, "but it can never deliver compassion and hope," she said. Those things, Rice said, come from churches and community and civic organizations.

Rice said the world is not hearing the United States say it will stand for free people, free markets and the value of freedom.

"The world needs America's leadership at this point in time and we're not getting American leadership," Rice said. "What we're getting is the muted voice of America through the security council."

If the nation is going to continue support and defend freedom abroad, "we're going to have to start by supporting and defending freedom at home," she said.

Rice only spoke briefly about Love, touting Love's work as mayor, reiterating her belief in America and her call for personal and fiscal responsibility.

"We need that kind of leadership in Washington today because these are complicated and difficult times for our country and for our world," Rice said.

In her remarks, Love — who called Rice her role model — sounded a similar note. She said she was "disheartened" by President Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday. She said he seemed to be saying, "Let's cross our fingers and hope everything works out."

"That's not the America I know," she said. "What they fail to realize is that without freedom, there is no hope."

Love campaign chairman Josh Romney, son of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, also spoke. He said he wanted to talk about Matheson for a minute.

"Does anybody have an empty chair I can bring up here?" he said.

The Love-Matheson matchup is one of the most hotly contested and closely watched congressional races in the country. Super PACs and national Democratic and Republican organizations have committed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the candidates.

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