Green Eyeshades Look Good On Rice
Known for a look that leans toward knee-high leather boots, long, black Matrix- style coats, and tailored suits, we hear that dishy Secretary of State Condi Rice has been showing off a new accessory in Foggy Bottom: green eyeshades. Insiders say that after breaking State travel records in her first year, Rice has temporarily clipped her wings to dig into the mundane issues of budgeting for and running the world's largest diplomatic operation. While ready for very short trips and still focused on the big-deal issues like nukes in Iran, Rice is making time to present State's new fiscal 2007 budget, personally figuring out how to staff dangerous embassies in Baghdad and Kabul, and reworking how diplomats are assigned to foreign posts.
Boring? No way, says an aide. In fact, next to knocking heads with tyrants, schmoozing with Washington's overseas allies, and Monday-morning quarterbacking the Super Bowl, nothing gets Rice going more than ledger books and management issues. "She loves it," says the aide. It's a passion Rice developed at Stanford University, where she was provost for six years before joining President Bush' s team. Consider: When an aide asked her about an hours-long budget gaggle at State, he tells us, "her face lit up. She said it was just great!" Which explains why Rice doesn't want to be president: Maybe she's got her eyes on the Office of Management and Budget.
Who Knew? More Dick Nixon Tapes
A deal to finally bring the private Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace under the auspices of the National Archives resulted in an amazing find: a group of Nixon tapes full of his chats on political strategy. The tapes will be donated to the feds. "The political conversations will fill in the gaps in previously opened conversations," says the archives' Sharon Fawcett. The tapes are different from those confiscated during the Watergate mess and have never been heard by the public. We hear that the archives plans a low-key July ceremony to receive the Yorba Linda, Calif., library.
'Axis of Evil' Is Still in Business
The war in Iraq isn't dimming the relationship between the other two members of President Bush' s "axis of evil:" North Korea and Iran. Officials tell us that North Korea smuggled an entire arsenal of ballistic missiles to Tehran that could be used in its nuclear program to strike Israel and Turkey. And U.S. officials warn that the 18 BM-25 missiles could actually fly farther. The report is sure to provoke new western demands on Iran to dismantle its nuke program--and more angry retorts from Tehran. The deal, says one expert, represents "perhaps the most serious proliferation ... ever."
At Sea, a Generic 'God' vs. Jesus
Is the Navy undercutting President Bush 's wish to allow military chaplains to pray in the name of Jesus? Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt, a Navy chaplain who claims his career was derailed because of his evangelical prayers, says so. On January 5, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said President Bush was committed to safeguarding the right of military personnel to "freely express their religious views."Two days later, Klingenschmitt ended an 18-day hunger strike. But Klingenschmitt now says a Navy policy just published undercuts the president by allowing ship captains to determine what kind of prayers are offered at mandatory gatherings. Hold on, says Navy spokesman Lt. William Marks . "They are allowed to pray in Jesus's name," he says. "All we are asking," he prays, is that preachers "be mindful of the audience."