Condoleezza Rice on New Memoir 'Extraordinary, Ordinary People'

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 12, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: The former secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, has a new book out called "Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family," which chronicles her personal story, culminating in her becoming one of the most powerful women in the world as secretary of state. Dr. Rice joins us now.

Before we get to your book, Madam Secretary, is the world a more dangerous place two years after you left office?

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The world was most dangerous in 2001, when we didn't have a net to deal with terrorism. I think in that sense we made it a safer place from the time that we were in office. But Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon. That's more dangerous. North Korea seems somewhat unstable with nuclear capability. That makes the world more dangerous. But, in fact, you're always dealing with circumstances that are very difficult for a United States that has to lead.

O'REILLY: It doesn't seem like we can get through to the Iranians. If we take military action, I think that would ignite World War III.

RICE: I don't think anybody wants to take military action. But you know, Bill, what happened in the streets of Tehran in June of 2009 gives us an opening, because this is actually a very weak regime in many ways. And very tough sanctions on a weak economy and a regime that is now at each other's throats, it would be awfully good to see.

O'REILLY: Kind of a race against time though, right?

RICE: It's a race against time, no doubt. But it's better to take that race, I think, at this point in time. I don't think anybody really wants to contemplate military action, though the American president should never take that off the table.

O'REILLY: Well, you know, I think there's got to be a blockade to be considered. But anyway, Afghanistan could go either way.

RICE: Afghanistan could go either way. It was always going to be hard. Fifth poorest country in the world…

O'REILLY: When you left office, I don't think you could -- you could predict how bad it's gotten.

RICE: No, I think that in large part relates to what happened in Pakistan, the deals that were made with the terrorists in the northwest frontier. But I have a lot of confidence in David Petraeus. I have a lot of confidence that if we...

O'REILLY: How about Hillary Clinton?

RICE: Hillary Clinton is someone I've known for a long, long time. She's a patriot. I think she's doing a lot of the right things.

O'REILLY: Is she doing what you did? Are you different in your styles?

RICE: Well, of course, we're different in styles. We are different people.

O'REILLY: Can you quantify that?

RICE: I don't watch every day, surprisingly, Bill. But obviously, we come from different backgrounds. I come from a background as a specialist in international politics.

O'REILLY: But she's tough though.

RICE: She's very tough.

O'REILLY: She's no dove. She's tougher than Obama.

RICE: And she's got the right instincts, I think about...

O'REILLY: So you're pleased with that.

RICE: I think she's doing a fine job. I really do.

O'REILLY: I don't know whether you heard Senator Tom Coburn say she's holding up a billion dollars to Haiti, and that's a mess.

RICE: I wouldn't even presume to comment about something that I don't know the insides of. It's always difficult between the Congress and the State Department when one is talking about money.

O'REILLY: OK. All right. Let's get to the book now, "Extraordinary, Ordinary People." What struck me, and I haven't finished it, is the intensity of your upbringing in Alabama in the civil rights days when you had two parents in the home, OK? Your father was a preacher, right?

RICE: Presbyterian minister and high school guidance counselor at the same time.

O'REILLY: Right. And they were tough parents on you. You were an only child.

RICE: I wasn't -- they weren't Stepford parents. I was a really happy child.

O'REILLY: But they -- but they held you to a high standard.

RICE: They did indeed.

O'REILLY: So that's tough. I mean, you know, when you're in a family and you have to perform as a child, you had to perform.

RICE: But I didn't feel that way about it. I felt that they were giving me every possible opportunity, and I was taking advantage of some and not of others.

O'REILLY: But they -- you correct me if I'm wrong. They structured your day so that you had to study, you had to do the piano, you had -- or what was it, the instrument?

RICE: Piano.

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.

RICE: Yes.

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.

O'REILLY: Right.

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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