WASHINGTON – It was a long interview in Moscow, and maybe she was tired from her travels, but for just a moment Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (search) declared Wednesday that she would seek the U.S. presidency.
"One day you will run for president?" Rice was asked on Ekko Moskvy Radio.
"President, da, da," Rice readily replied.
That, as nearly everyone knows, even if they are not fluent in Russian (search) as Rice is believed to be, means yes.
"Nyet, nyet, nyet, nyet," Rice quickly added, taking herself out of the race as fast as she'd gotten into it.
The former academic, whose specialty was Soviet studies, is fluent in Russian — usually.
Moments before, in response to a series of friendly questions from listeners, Rice had begun her answers by saying "Da."
Her mood was clearly upbeat as she assured one listener, in Russian, that "the United States and the American people respect the great culture of Russia, respect the great people of Russia, and we know that Russia has a very good future ahead of it."
She told another listener, in English (search), "The United States is not an enemy of Russia."
And when a Russian girl asked how she could become like Condoleezza Rice, she replied in English, "I don't want to talk about myself."
She did, but only when the caller pressed. "I enjoy very much what I do now. I have great friends and family," Rice said.
Rice also acknowledged in her reply, switching to Russian, that the Russian language "is very difficult.... It is difficult to speak without mistakes."
And she proved it a few minutes later by accidentally applying for the job of U.S. president.