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CAGOP14: Condoleezza Rice’s luncheon speech

It’s not just the California Republican Party that needs rebuilding – it’s America itself, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Saturday at the state GOP convention in Burlingame.

Condoleezza-Rice-photo-by-Steve-Gladfelter-Stanford.jpgRice, now a Stanford professor and Hoover Institution senior fellow, said the American “pursuit of happiness” requires opportunity, community and responsibility to each other, as well as to people around the world who don’t yet have the liberties we enjoy.

That requires “proper balance between the rights and responsibilities of the individual, and the powers of government,” Rice said. “We don’t mean ‘no government’ – that’s not what our founders believe.”

Instead, she said, we need a government that imposes few regulations and low taxes upon the private sector “because it is the private sector that is creative, innovative and risk-taking” in creating jobs and opportunities for citizens.

“We must be committed to the belief that individuals have choices, and we will respect the choices of each other,” Rice said. “On one hand, we are the most individualistic people on the face of the earth … But we… are also the most philanthropic. This is a country where people give up their resources and their time to good causes.”

But public entitlements aren’t the answer, she said. Nor should Americans be jealous of each others’ success, she said; anyone can succeed with hard work and perseverance, so long as they’re given a good education.

She said she can’t understand how some people move to wealthy neighborhoods to get their children into good schools, or send their children to private schools, and then argue against school choice.

“The greatest civil rights issue of our time is a high-quality education for every child,” she said, calling for a school-voucher system.

More from Rice, after the jump…
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Protesters target Condi Rice in Tampa

The Bay Area’s own former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, now a Stanford professor and Hoover Institution fellow, was targeted by protesters today in Tampa. Via the Associated Press:

TAMPA, Fla. — Police in Tampa stopped a dozen anti-war protesters from entering an event attended by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice after the group said it intended to arrest her for war crimes.

The protesters from Code Pink carried handcuffs Tuesday and tried to enter a performing arts center. Rice was attending an event in conjunction with the Republican National Convention. They said they wanted to make a citizen’s arrest of Rice. She was George W. Bush’s National Security Adviser when the Iraq War started in 2003.

Officers told protesters to leave because they were on private property. They went back to the sidewalk and several lay down under sheets made to look like they were blood-splattered.

The group says it will try to arrest other members of the George W. Bush administration.

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What they’re saying about today’s job numbers

Democrats are pleased by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ announcement this morning that 11,000 jobs were lost in November – in the prior 3 months, payroll job losses had averaged 135,000 a month – and the unemployment rate fell to 10 percent (down from 10.2 percent in October), the best monthly jobs report since December 2007.

From House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez:

“Today’s news that our nation’s unemployment rate fell in November is a sign that the Obama administration and Democratic Congress’ efforts are helping to move our economy in the right direction. When President Obama first inherited this crisis, our economy was losing hundreds of thousands of jobs each month. Today’s figures reflect what the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and a growing number of economists have told us: that the Recovery Act is helping blunt layoffs and reduce the unemployment rate.

“This hopeful report is also a reminder that our work is far from over. Each job lost is one too many. We must not let up on our efforts to stem further job losses and get our economy working for every American. While the nation’s employment situation may be stabilizing, millions of Americans are still without a job. In the coming weeks, Congress will move to provide additional relief to those who are struggling to pay their bills while they look for a job.”

Not good enough, say Republicans. From Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the ranking Republican on Miller’s committee:

“Any reduction in unemployment is welcome news, but a 10 percent unemployment rate is certainly not cause for celebration. Millions of Americans still cannot find jobs, and millions more remain so discouraged they’ve stopped seeking employment entirely.

“More than nine months since enactment of the stimulus, the unemployment rate remains two full percentage points higher than Democrats predicted. To consider this an economic recovery is an affront to the workers who remain jobless and the small businesses too uncertain to grow and hire because of the litany of economic threats looming in Washington.

“To achieve true economic recovery, America needs pro-growth policies. Instead, Democrats in Congress and the White House remain stubbornly committed to a job-killing agenda that includes card check, cap-and-tax, a government takeover of health care, and deficits as far as the eye can see. Summits and spending are not solutions.”

Robert Hall – a Stanford economics professor, Hoover Institution senior fellow, member of the Congressional Budget Office Advisory Committee since 1993 and president-elect of the American Economic Association – told me this morning that the job numbers “were a pleasant surprise and give some hope that we have reached bottom in payroll employment, but it would be going way to far to suggest that we can revise upward the fairly dismal forecasts for job growth in the next couple of years. Anyway, I don’t forecast, as it would conflict with my business cycle chronology function at the NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research).”

But as for what expectations should’ve been up until now, he said, “All forecasters got the job situation wrong for this year. It’s preposterous to try to measure the effects of the stimulus by comparing actual to a year-ago forecast. All reasonable models say that the job situation would have been worse absent the stimulus, though there is a lot of disagreement on the amount.”