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 CNN.com 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."

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Filed under: Condoleezza Rice • Libya
soundoff (553 Responses)
  1. Jim

    Did the pages stick together?

    August 26, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Samuel R. Preston, III

    wait a minute...gadhafi is black? I did not know that.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • GhadaffidaAFROdude

      Have you looked at his hair???

      August 26, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Valerie

    WOW !! The man is an African. Libya is on the African continent. He is only saying that he admires the mother of civiliation which is the black woman. Some call us Mother Nature !!

    August 26, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • nighttalk

      I wondered where the racial slur...sandni**** came from...

      August 26, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Meki60

    hey, she's more interesting than Kardashian

    August 26, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Albuquerque

      Mainly because she did her piano solo of "The Sheik of Araby" for him.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. HockeyMinny

    I had a crush on "Condy" until I realized she was a Republician. I've moved on to Betty White...

    August 26, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony Baloney

      you moved on to Pelosi...now there's a face that if you had a dog you'd shave its butt and teach it to walk backwards...wolf, wolf

      August 26, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. HZ

    No mystery why a guy would like her. She may not have been a "classic" beauty by white fashion model standards but she's a beautiful, athletic (hear she does a lot of exercising) and very intelligent woman with a lot of confidence and great accomplishments in her life. Also an expert classical piano player. All that puts her ahead of probably 98% of women.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      She's a filthy Neo Con. Ugly as the sin and death she peddles.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      Plus she's totally submissive, and didn't let any of her intelliegence get in the way of being Bush's little lap dog.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ILL WILL

    All I can do is lol at this. People are interesting creatures....

    August 26, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • I WILL ILL

      Very interesting.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moammar Khadafy

      She doesn't even cover her face!

      August 26, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Texasjimbob

    Can't fault him there. Condi is hot!

    August 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justinstl

      Sick!!!

      August 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • American

      She sure is hot!!!

      August 26, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Logan

    Condaleeza-lies-alot

    August 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Anna

    Libya is an African nation. Gadhafi has always held things that patern to Africa at a high esteem. He respects Condoleezza Rice as a black woman achiever. I do not think he is obssessed with her. What I am not happy about is Gadhafi's obsession with power. He has stayed in power for too long. Leaders should learn to quit the stage when the ovation is loudest. If he had left power before now, all these would not have happened to him.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. winston

    Hey Qadaffi, we are all of recent African descent.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Biff

    Maybe instead of killing Ghadafi we make a reality tv show of him.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moammar Khadafy

      No!! Just hang me! Please, not that.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tony Baloney

    Gadhafi and Pelosi...now there would be some butt-ugly, nay...fugly...little creatures

    August 26, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • mom

      not by white standards i guess...yah?

      August 26, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • mom

      tony whatever you call yourself...you have no respect for fellow humans. i wonder what makes you think you are better than other people just because they look different. even if you are a pretty boy. your ugly inside is showing and it stains all that which people see. i can even smell your ugliness

      August 26, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bailoutsos

    He should have done a love video like Jim Carrey.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Thinker

    We care about Gadaffi because of OIL in Libya. We only care about regional affairs of country that have worthwhile resources

    August 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
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