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. truth2power

    Well, there's no accounting for taste!

    August 26, 2011 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jon

    She doesn't look like a camel Gadhafi. Have fun running for your life "brave man'.

    August 26, 2011 at 3:12 am | Report abuse |
  3. namethename

    Rice is good woman. You liberals make me sick. There are plenty of pics showing Obama with Gadhafi shaking his hand and being all friendly.

    August 26, 2011 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
    • billr

      HEY, I'm a liberal and, while I don't agree with her politics, I happen to think Condi Rice is very intelligent, classy, and carries a dignity about her that's really commendable. She's someone I'd love to sit and yak for a few hours with. As for this story, I can only say I feel sorry for her, she sure didn't ask for this and it's definitely something I hope she can just toss off and have a good laugh over. Otherwise, it's completely creepy!

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

      thanks for explaining photos with Obama. Obama is a classy guy and I would like to drink beer with him. Oh, I happen to disagree on his policy of making people poor and unemployed.
      But I still see no photos of Obama with Gadhafi on CNN even so there are plenty online.

      August 26, 2011 at 4:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. CNN Wire

    So he was all for African independence? The Arabs didn't like that at all-hence, he was shouned by the big shakers and movers in the Arab world who don't care much for the Africans. The more I read about Mr. Gadhafi, the more compell I am to respect his views.

    August 26, 2011 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Joelli

      You must be TeaBagger , Obama hatter. This story has nothing to do with Obama, how come you mention Obama here ? The story says that Condo Rice is girlfriend of Gaddafi , thats it. Please read it again , are you Palin fan ? You blame everything happen in this world ? Even you blame Obama due to earthquake happened recently in Virginia and recent huricane ? Poor Tea Baggger

      August 26, 2011 at 3:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Rex Lutherin

      Joelli: Your insanity cracked me up, thx for the laugh!

      August 26, 2011 at 4:24 am | Report abuse |
  5. Sinbad

    Very good taste in women 🙂

    August 26, 2011 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dani3l

    Now there's a match made in Hell. I actually feel bad for Condi – that has to be a creepy feeling.

    August 26, 2011 at 3:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. Zenith

    Isn't Libya in Africa? Wouldn't that make Gadhafi an African? What is aberrant about him stating that and feeling pride in that. This Fouad guy needs to study a map and not be degrading of the concept of an African leader being proud of being an African. Fouad is of Egyptian descent, I believe, which would make him an African too. Unless Egypt is no longer on the African continent. What a selfhating moron!

    August 26, 2011 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tim E


    August 26, 2011 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. Krish the Ish

    Run Gadhafi run. Condi be worse than them NATO biyz

    August 26, 2011 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
  10. agavemike

    He left the Condi album and took the Michele Obama album with him.

    August 26, 2011 at 3:34 am | Report abuse |
  11. Moniker Lewinsky

    I wonder if Libyan women offer themselves willingly to married Libyan politicians. I mean, is that part of their heritage.

    August 26, 2011 at 3:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. Rex Lutherin

    This has got to be literally the dumbest story on CNN I've read all year.

    August 26, 2011 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. Moniker Lewinsky

    Condi is so thin. How does she do it? Are you going to eat the rest of that?

    August 26, 2011 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Rex Lutherin

      OK, this is where I draw the line... visualizing that is just gross, weasel or no weasel!

      August 26, 2011 at 4:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. Rex Lutherin

    Oh, and by the way... don't post how you truly feel on here. Communist News Network will BAN you.

    August 26, 2011 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
    • BOB

      Yet, here you are.

      August 26, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. LOW LYF


    August 26, 2011 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
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