August 25th, 2011
11:22 PM ET

Smitten Gadhafi? Rebels find Condoleezza Rice photo book

We'd long heard that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi admired former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In 2007, he called her "Leeza ... my darling black African woman" whom he loved "very much."

Just words? Perhaps. Or maybe, as a discovery this week suggests, he really was quite impressed.

Rebels ransacking his Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli found a photo album of Rice, The New York Times reports.

A description of the album, from the Times:

"There she is, in one (picture), smiling off to the side, her flip-do accented perfectly for the camera. And there she is in another, smiling next to you-know-who during that visit to Tripoli. He is wearing a flowing white robe with purple sash and Africa pin; she looks more businesslike in a gray pinstripe suit with white pearls, her flip-do having given way to a page-boy bob."

Rice was with the Bush administration when the United States restored relations with Libya in 2005, after Gadhafi decided to abandon his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, renounce terrorism and compensate victims of a 1986 disco bombing in Berlin and the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.

In a 2007 interview with Al Jazeera, Gadhafi said this about Rice:

"I support my darling, black African woman. ... I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders. ... I love her very much. I admire her, and I'm proud of her because she's a black woman of African origin."

Gadhafi met with Rice the next year, when Rice made the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state to Libya in more than 50 years. CNN's Elise Labott reported on their meeting in a reception room at Gadhafi’s Tripoli compound:

"Gadhafi, wearing a white robe and a black fez but not his trademark dark sunglasses, shook the hands of the male members of Rice's staff but not Rice, instead offering the traditional greeting of his hand over his heart for her," Labott reported in her piece, noting that Muslim men are prohibited from shaking hands with women to whom they are not related.

Rice's office, when reached by CNN on Thursday for reaction to the photo album, said she'd reserve comment until the release of her book on November 1.

Fouad Ajami, a Middle East expert, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and an outspoken critic of Gadhafi, provided some context regarding why Gadhafi would stress Rice's African roots and comment on her dealings with Arab leaders.

"He ... fancied himself at one point as something of an African," Ajami told CNN's Joe Johns on Thursday. "He basically said at one point that Libya is an African country, (that) it has nothing to do with the Arabs. And he dubbed himself king of the kings of Africa, and he turned his back on the Arabs."

Ajami said he wouldn't think Rice is thrilled.

"Secretary Rice is an esteemed colleague ... at Hoover and something of a friend, so I don't think she's flattered by this," Ajami told Johns on "The Situation Room."

Post by:
Filed under: Condoleezza Rice • Libya
soundoff (553 Responses)
  1. drap

    A bird in the probably worth more than any Bush... .

    August 25, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bendayho

    All I know is that the Rice- Ghadafi offspring... Worst Hair. Ever

    August 26, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Hey what happened to the Dave Chappelle KKK skit? It was here last night and now it's gone.. Some oversensitive do golder probably reported it.. Wow this country is sad.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. bendayho

    play the Racial Draft clip with Rice. Awesome

    August 26, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. bendayho

    You are the man. Most useful CNN poster ever

    August 26, 2011 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  5. NoTags

    Moammar and Condi, the perfect pair.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
    • bailoutsos

      At least he was interested in someone smart and not some airhead supermodel.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. sam

    I just saw the pictures a few minutes ago myself.. I was waiting for someone to say it for me..

    August 26, 2011 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  7. Andrea M

    "You know who" What, is he Lord Voldemort now?

    August 26, 2011 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  8. PAUL

    This story is so romantic and touching it is making me cry!!!!

    August 26, 2011 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
  9. Abudu Rahman

    If he had had pictures of an attractive blue eyed blond he would have been normal. What a racist story.

    August 26, 2011 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Zenith

      So true! The American beauty industry (out a sense deepseated insecurity) promotes only one standard of beauty. Not everyone finds that attractive. In fact, some are actually repulsed by it and can see true beauty in a myriad of races and cultures. Therefore, when ANY person expresses an attraction for someone who falls outside of what "the machine" force feeds the masses, they are somehow flawed. Gadhafi has his problems, no doubt, but the media and many commenters (in several forums) are enjoying "piling on" to the ills of Gadhafi by pointing to his admiration of an accomplished black woman. Nic Robertson, a CNN journalist, who was reporting this story on the Piers Morgan show this past evening is a prime example of this. As unattractive as that man is, he has the nerve to act surprised and fascinated by the fact that someone, anyone could be attracted to Dr. Rice. He couched his disdain in the "Gadahafi is sick" parlance.

      August 26, 2011 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
    • nicole

      You know what, I somehow never thought of it that way. But you are right! They are calling him crazy because he thinks that she is pretty and she a black woman.. Last I looked Libya is where

      August 26, 2011 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Me

      @Abudu: That's because she hangs with Republicans, so CNN finds her fair game for attacks. I remember a news story broke that had a picture of her looking angry at reporters, but when the entire interview was shown she had an itch, but the reporter ran the story that she was angry. There is a special place in Hades for the mainstream media. They hardly report news as much as they imply and twist facts. Like CNN will get a token gay guy and token black person, so we think they are unbiased.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Cyrus

      I think racist is an over-reaction. Condi Rice is such a prominent and powerful woman. Someone as crazy as Ghaddafi having a "crush" on Rice is a curious story. When the sleaze-ball president of Pakistan was hitting on Palin, that was a news story too.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Naomi

    Wow, this is really funny. He should have learned and adopted her conservative Christian disciplines instead of oppressing women and infidels in his country.

    August 26, 2011 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
    • LH

      I totally agree!!!

      August 26, 2011 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
    • LaserDuck

      Hate to break it to you, but Gadhafi actually did a lot to improve women's rights in Lybia. Now, with the rebels (aka Islamists) in charge, that'll likely go down the drain first...

      August 26, 2011 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      lazerduck, do you have proof that the rebels are islamists? cause they all look to be normal people whove had enough of their dictator's BS........nary a turban or balaclava embroidered with quotes from the quran to be found among them........pretty much a tshirt-and-jeans crowd, some of whom spek perfect english and im pretty sure lived in this country.

      August 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. malcolm

    thank she was taking his money...

    August 26, 2011 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  12. DrJamesWilliamson

    Rice is so hot.

    August 26, 2011 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. JJ


    August 26, 2011 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. clearfog

    Did he rice to the occasion?

    August 26, 2011 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. Greg

    "Moammar Gadhafi kept a photo album of Condoleezza Rice, The New York Times reports."

    There's a lid for every pot, as the old saying goes.

    They're searching now for his Joy Behar swimsuit calendar. "We know it's there, and we'll find it", a rebel spokesman said.

    August 26, 2011 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24