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. cytochrome450

    Is Rice not a woman before secretary of state,and Gadafi a man before a president?

    August 27, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TexasSky

    Condi is an intelligent, confident and beautiful woman. I'm not surprised that Gadhafi admired her.
    I do feel bad for her though. She did not ask for this kind of publicity and to be ridiculed by all of you people.

    Have some respect! You may not agree with her politics but she was the Secretary of State at one point and it was her responsibility to keep America safe! Does that not mean anything to you people!

    August 27, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • nomi

      @texassky – I agree. There aren't many people in general that are of the caliber and class that Ms. Rice is. Hope this nonsense blows by quickly.

      August 27, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ancient Curse

    Gotta be crazy for Condi - She grew up poor in the South, surrounded by racists constantly making her feel less than human, and now she finds out a world leader was abusing himself to photos of her. Strange flattery, but still... you've come a long way, Condi.

    August 27, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liquidsunshine

      She grew up privileged, not poor. Still an attractive woman.

      August 28, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      Heck no. Jennifer Hudson is an attractive woman, Sofia Vergara is an attractive woman, Scarlett Johansson is an attractive woman. Condoleeza Rice is paper-bag material for the drunken desperate.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. The King

    The King was smitten by the chick that played Condi Rice in Will Ferrel's chickenhawk george sendup in "Your Welcome America"

    August 27, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. blf83

    Perhaps she was his Cleopatra!

    August 27, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles M.

      Funny stuff! Hehehehehehehhe! 😉

      August 27, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Justin

    hold on... stop the car! i'm about to throw up!

    August 27, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. picture423

    Despite gadaffi's weakness i think he still has morals. he only praised rice as an african child . By the way if Gadaffi said he is African so what? He is of course where is Libya?

    August 27, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zapadac

      Gadhafi has morals? He blew up Pan Am 103!! How moral is that?

      August 27, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chris Robbins

    HAH!!!

    August 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Anon

    horney old b@stard

    August 27, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Doodlebug

    Ariel Sharon apparently thought Rice has great legs, told her so and kept staring at them in a meeting (in between discussing peace in the Midde East no doubt, lol).

    August 27, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Blogson

    It seems that this story is a repeat of a similar one when Rice was Bush's Sec. of State. If Ghadafi's reason for surrendering his nuclear aspirations and other programs was that he was "smitten" with Rice he must have greatly regretted that entire situation when the US/NATO joined the effort to depose him. And if that all is true, it is obvious that Hillary Clinton does not possess a similar allure!

    August 27, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ASister

    To the white men dissing Ms. Rice: There is absolutely nothing wrong with Ms. Rice. I don't agree with Ms. Rice politics; but she is a very classy and accomplished women. Not one of your country western stars. She's not trashy enough for you.

    August 27, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MeEqualizer

    Hi Conde, the rat is in love with you..

    August 27, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. theAntiELVIS

    She has great legs

    August 27, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. David

    Maybe he had a thing for GW too....

    August 27, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
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