WASHINGTON – Even talking American football, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks diplomatically.
She made clear Friday that she wants the Indianapolis Colts to win the National Football League Super Bowl championship game Sunday over the Chicago Bears, but her words were measured.
During a photo opportunity to tell Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov goodbye, the two refused to answer questions about the Middle East situation, the subject of Lavrov's visit. Then, as they turned away, a reporter asked Rice to forecast the outcome of the top U.S. sporting event of the year.
"I really like both Chicago and Indianapolis, but I think Indianapolis is going to win it," she said. Then, as if it were an afterthought, she added: "And that would be a good thing."
The Colts are an early favorite.
Rice, whose favorite team is the Cleveland Browns, is a football aficionado and has said her dream job would be commissioner of the National Football League.
The sport that the world knows as football but Americans know as soccer played a role in an earlier meeting of Rice and Lavrov, who is a big soccer fan and plays the game himself.
The secretary of state was set to leave Moscow after a visit last year and was told that Lavrov needed to talk with her. She arrived for the hastily called meeting at the airport to find the Russian still in his soccer togs.