In a speech given Thursday night, Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice blamed the Obama administration of damaging the United States' status, citing Obama's weak foreign policy for the increasing problems surrounding the country.
"Right now, there's a vacuum," she told a crowd of more than two thousand attending the National Republican Congressional Committee's annual dinner in Washington, D.C. "There's a vacuum because we've decided to lower our voice. We've decided to step back. We've decided that if we step back and lower our voice, others will lead, other things will fill that vacuum." Referencing Bashar al Assad's slaughter in Syria, Vladimir Putin's aggression in Ukraine, al Qaeda's triumphant return to Fallujah, Iraq, and China's nationalist fervor, she stated: "When America steps back and there is a vacuum, trouble will fill that vacuum."
Her speech was the highlight of an evening that brought in $15.1 million for House Republicans. While Rice didn't specifically mention the president by name, she sent a very clear message to her audience: Obama's lack of effective, strong leadership has left the country susceptible to future threats from the outside. She warned against complacency and the naïve hope that "international norms" would fill the vacuum left by U.S. retreat
"I fully understand the sense of weariness," she said. "I fully understand that we must think: 'Us, again?' I know that we've been through two wars. I know that we've been vigilant against terrorism. I know that it's hard. But leaders can't afford to get tired. Leaders can't afford to be weary."
The former secretary of state for President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2009, Rice is no stranger to publically promoting the Republican Party. She has been a frequent spokesperson at Republican fundraisers to raise money for the midterms elections, raising money in 2012 for GOP nominee Mitt Romney with a prime-time speech at the Republican convention.
Rice's recurrent appearances and powerful messages have many wondering if she is considering running for president in 2016. However, Rice told Parade magazine earlier this month that while it would be "terrific" to see a female president, it most likely would not be her.
Many members of the Republic party, however, are excited at the idea of Rice running for president. "It's important for the party to be able to have many different faces out there," political consultant Ashley O'Connor, a former Bush and Romney campaign ad director, told USA Today. "I'm thrilled to see her out there. If she ever decided to run for anything, I would volunteer."
Ari Fleischer, however, says that while Rice is a powerful voice for the Republican party, she is not running for president.
"I recommend you conclude that it's Condi being Condi," he said. "I do not think she is running for president. She is not. She is being very helpful to the cause as she always has been...This is nothing new ... she's always done it. The only thing that's different is that it's such a wide-open political field (for 2016) that people want to know, is it more?"