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. beasymiller

    If he was "smitten" lol. I cannot blame him she is a very sophisicated, intelligent, strong, powerful, and beautiful woman
    he has good taste.

    August 27, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Data1000

    I admit, I also thought she was a very pretty and elegant lady. I remember feeling surprised when I learned that she was 15 years older than I am. Not that it matters, but I'm not a Republican.

    August 28, 2011 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  3. drogo, the stallion that mounts the world

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...I don't see it.

    August 28, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. saaaly

    anderson coopers smitten with don lemon...

    August 28, 2011 at 3:13 am | Report abuse |
  5. jc

    This website gets more pathetic by the minute.

    August 28, 2011 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim


      August 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Debra

      I concur.

      August 28, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Condo


      August 28, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mondo

      I disagree, this is my main source for news and you are all wrong

      August 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. david

    Yes she was close to him George Bush,Cheny,Rice,Rumsfield THEY ALL GOT RICH FROM OIL AND YOU TALK ABOUT OBAMA, he's no way as bad as these guys...

    August 28, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
    • tom

      Well said...The Bush's were also like kissing cuzzins to the Saudi's and reaped huge rewards for that. It's ALWAYS been about the oil and money for the money grubbing GOP....Cheney, Rove and Bush the worst of them.

      August 28, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  7. kathy

    Wonder if he knew 'Condi' only likes the ladies??

    August 28, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • triso

      Have you got anything to back that up?

      August 28, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • got it on tape

      steamy, it'll curl your toes

      August 28, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jb1963

    Rice can write. I thought the entire Bush administration couldn't read or write. That was the only reason I had for them destroying a country without a care. I just assumed they didn't know any better. I guess everyone else was right they were actually trying to destroy a country.

    August 28, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • the Bush administration did some significant damage to the U.S.

      it will take a long time to make the U.S. healthy again, but Obama is on the long road to making things better

      remember that lost in the head lights look in Bush's eyes when they told him about the plane hitting the towers, we as a nation collectively said 'oh my god, Bush pee'd his pants'

      August 28, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bookgirl

    Creepy...just like him. Seems like people who are given unbridled power for long periods always lose touch with reality. Interesting case study.

    August 28, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. Nick

    This is some good SNL material.

    August 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jerry

    jb1963 and other nay-sayers, you idiots are right, you (always) ass-ume.

    August 28, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jim

    It's kind of like vampires when the sun goes down. All these people have to do is see the name Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld or Rice and all the crazies awaken from their slumber.

    August 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kerry Berger

    Ms. Rice apparently is quoted as saying she felt it was a bit "bizarre" and "creepy" to know Gadhafi had a fixation on her, but no one ever says openly that maybe these quirks are the result of mental illness, even though it is assumed to be the case.

    August 28, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TripleA

    And to think some people believe the American Media Culture is obsessed with the puerile, and trivial. What humbug

    August 28, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. nick

    Poor Gadhafi, didn't even know Condi was playing for the other team all along. (Relax neo-cons, she didn't marry anyone at least!)

    August 28, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
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