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Dick Cheney: The Calm Mediator

2 minute read
John F. Dickerson

No one spends more time talking with George W. Bush about the war on terrorism than National Security Adviser CONDOLEEZZA RICE. That’s because Bush likes to hear all sides–and then looks to Rice to haul the differing opinions together into a unified policy. Iraq has tested her. Arguments over everything from what constituted evidence of Saddam’s trickery to whether to ask for a new U.N. resolution sanctioning Iraq have been pushed, pulled and squeezed by every faction. Though Rice, 48, keeps her opinions closely guarded, she has muffled some of the war whoops coming from more hawkish members of the Administration. “Rice has weighed in more on Iraq and other issues this year,” says a senior official. “That’s one reason why Powell looks like a success.” The intense and driven Rice has not always been a force for moderation. When public support for taking down Saddam flagged last summer, she turned up the volume on links between Baghdad and al-Qaeda. Rice shares a bond with Bush that is akin to family. She is often the first of his staff to speak to him in the morning, after her 5 a.m. workout, and the last to brief him at night. “When he leaves here,” says a top aide, “she will be the last one to turn out the light.” –By John F. Dickerson

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