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Rice Confirmation Hearings


The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

Condoleezza Rice is President George W. Bush's choice for Secretary of State. The United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to confirm her appointment. The final decision is made by the full Senate.

The U.S. Constitution requires that the President obtain "the advice and consent of the Senate" in order to make treaties and appoint cabinet members, ambassadors, or other officials. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee heard testimony from Ms. Rice and others concerning her qualifications to serve as Secretary of State. The committee chairman is Republican Richard Lugar of the state of Indiana:

"The Secretary of State serves as the President's top foreign policy advisor, as our nation's most visible emissary to the rest of the world, and as a manager of one of the most important departments of our government. Any one of those jobs would be a challenge for even the most talented civil servant, but the Secretary of State, at this critical time in our history, must excel in all three roles."

Senator Lugar said, "the enormously complex job before Dr. Rice will require all of her talents and experience." The eighteen members of the Senate committee questioned Ms. Rice on a range of foreign policy issues. They also offered her their perspective and advice. Senator Joseph Biden of the state of Delaware is the top ranking Democrat on the committee:

"We must first win the struggle between freedom and radical Islamic fundamentalism and, in my view, [concurring] with. . .the chairman of this committee, Senator Lugar, keep the world's most dangerous weapons away from its most dangerous people."

Ms. Rice was President Bush's national security adviser during his first term. She said the U.S. should work with other nations to "spread freedom and democracy throughout the globe:"

"We must use American diplomacy to help create a balance of power in the world that favors freedom. And the time for diplomacy is now."

The framers of the U.S. Constitution feared abuses of power and insisted that the power to appoint high government officials be shared between the President and Congress. One of those framers, Alexander Hamilton, wrote that requiring Senate confirmation "would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters" and "would be a source of stability in the administration."

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