O'REILLY: Piano, right. You had to do this stuff, and you weren't allowed, you know, to be -- I wasn't really allowed. I just did it. But you weren't a little thug -- a little thugette?
RICE: I was actually a little tomboy.
O'REILLY: Right, but your parents really shaped you.
RICE: They shaped me, but they allowed me to be who I -- I was the one who wanted to play the piano. I was the one who wanted to figure skate. I was the one who also would run around and jump on their bed and turn it into a trampoline from time to time. So I thought we had a wonderful relationship. What my parents did was to say that you cannot control your circumstances in segregated Alabama, but you can control how you respond to them.
O'REILLY: OK. Now, your father didn't march with Dr. King, Martin Luther King Jr., because he believed in violence on some occasions, while Dr. King did not.
RICE: Well, I could not imagine my father having somebody come at him with a billy club and sitting there passively. My father was a big and very physical man. And I remembered that he told my mother, "If somebody comes after me, I'm going to go after them and then my daughter is going to be an orphan."
O'REILLY: And that was his beef with Dr. King. That separated him.
RICE: He admired Martin Luther King like we all did. But he had some real questions about the nonviolent part in the movement.
O'REILLY: See, I don't think most people would assume that from your background, that your father was kind of a firebrand.
RICE: He could be a real firebrand, that's right.
O'REILLY: OK. You voted for Jimmy Carter.
O'REILLY: All right, Southern guy and, you know, you understand that culture down there. But then you got increasingly conservative in your views. How did that happen?
RICE: Well, I was in the Soviet Union as a graduate student in August through the fall of 1979. I come back, the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan. President Carter says, "I now know more about the Soviet Union than I've known in my life," and he boycotts the Olympics. And I thought, "This is the best the United States of America can do against this horrible Soviet threat?" And I voted for Ronald Reagan, because even though I sometimes thought it's a little undiplomatic to call the Soviet Union the Evil Empire, it was indeed an evil empire. And I thought Ronald Reagan was more realistic.
O'REILLY: So Reagan was the one that convinced you to go a little bit more to the conservative precincts?
RICE: Because it was a foreign policy decision at first.
RICE: But my father was a Republican. And I was always very much attracted to the idea that the individual matters, not the group.
O'REILLY: Why -- why was your father a Republican?
RICE: Well, he registered to vote as a Republican because down in Alabama sometimes those were the only clerks who would register black people.
O'REILLY: So it wasn't ideological?
RICE: It wasn't ideological, no.
O'REILLY: The book is "Extraordinary, Ordinary People." Doctor, thanks for coming in here. And I recommend the book very highly.
RICE: It's a pleasure. Nice to be with you, Bill.
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