Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will return to Stanford University when President George W. Bush steps down in January, her spokesman said Monday, denying rumors she sought political office.
"If she's actively seeking the vice presidency, then she's the last one to know about it," spokesman Sean McCormack said when asked about speculation Rice wanted to run for office with Republican presumptive presidential candidate John McCain.
"She plans on going back west of the Mississippi to Stanford (in California) when she's completed her work as secretary of state," the State Department spokesman said.
"Keep in mind, she's actually on leave from Stanford. She's still a tenured professor at Stanford University," McCormack said.
He had been asked to comment about a speech Rice delivered to Americans for Tax Reform, an interview she gave on race and education in America and a magazine picture spread showing her exercising.
"I think what she is considering is focusing on her work as secretary of state, because you may have missed it, but there's actually quite a bit to do. There's quite a bit left to do here as secretary of state," he said.
McCormack recalled that in the interview with the Washington Times, Rice said she was "not interested" in seeking political office and that it was "time for new blood."
McCain, speaking while traveling to Kansas City on his campaign plane, told reporters, "I missed those signals," when asked if Rice was campaigning to serve as his running mate, according to the New York Times.
But McCain praised Rice.
"I think she's a great American, I think there's very little that I can say that isn't anything but the utmost praise for a great American citizen, who served as a role model to so many millions of people in this country and around the world," McCain said, according to the newspaper.
"Her overall record is very, very meritorious," McCain said.
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