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."

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Filed under: Condoleezza Rice • Libya
soundoff (553 Responses)
  1. Leo from East Texas

    Condoleeza....You've got a lot of explaing to dooooo...............

    August 26, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. khanpathan

    i dont understand why you have to kill the guy. wasn't his son offering to negotiate and make a peace deal? can't we end the war?

    August 26, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. WENDY


    August 26, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • ldstep

      Totally agree with your post.

      August 28, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. James in Canada

    you should see the collection of pictures she has of 'Mo' at her place!.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tee Are

    "praise from caesar is praise indeed"   

    August 26, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tee Are

      thank you Bart Simpson for tonight's quote. If you can remember who he said it to, give yourself 2 points. to be fair Bart dropped the "is praise indeed" part. cheers Tee Are

      August 26, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Menemenetekelupharsin

    What's more disturbing are the compromising pictures of Michael Vick in fishnets and high heels.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. zman

    Well, after all, W was....criminals love liars.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. zip

    Sorry, Mo. Condi likes girls.

    August 27, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  9. Confused

    I bet those pages are stuck together.

    August 27, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. j

    This guy officially needs to be shot now...

    August 27, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  11. sam

    WHat would he want with that UGLY WOMEN ?

    August 27, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Kristina

      Looking forward to the day when CNN bans 14 year-olds from posting.

      August 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • TexasSky

      First of all, learn how to spell! Its woman (singular) not women. Second, I have not doubt that you are one of those lonely, insecure boys who hide behind their computers and are intimidated by strong, intelligent women (plural). Maybe the likes of Lindsey Lohan (girls with no self-esteem or self-respect) would serve you better.

      August 27, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • ldstep

      @TexaSky: I was going to respond but you said it all. I couldn't have said it better.

      August 28, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      "Strong, intelligent woman."=PC speak for lonely cougar wannabe who owns as many cats as she does power suits. The more mature, experienced and solvent a man is, the more he appreciates the presence of a good-looking woman with long hair and short thoughts. If I wanted challenging, long-winded parry from somebody I would rather not dance with every God-forsaken evening, I could always move in with Joe, my accountant. It is what it is.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. Revolutionary

    We all know, they all sleep in the same bed...

    August 27, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. Paul

    "My darling black African woman??" Seriously?? Colonel Qaddafi needs some tips on wooing foreign diplomats of color!

    August 27, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kevin

    Sorry. No more Condoleezaa Rice. How about Barrack Obama ,you can ask him for HELP

    August 27, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. Tripoli, A.J.

    knowing how crazy Qaddafi is, most likely he was contemplating hiring Condi as one of his women bodygaurds! I don't know!

    August 27, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
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