Condi Rice vs. college kid smackdown: Who's smarter?

As the issue of torture devastates the PR of the Republican party, one person has stayed quiet. Condoleezza Rice, the former Secretary of State, has returned to Stanford University, after eight years of public service, and is settling into a life of ease and book writing. Not if those pesky college kids can help it!

Visiting a Stanford dorm last Monday, Condi was surrounded by students and confronted by one who pressed on about her role in waterboarding at Guantanamo Bay. (C.I.A. documents, released recently, show that she did authorize waterboarding.) The exchange, captured on video by student Reyna Garcia, shows the usually cool, collected Condi getting finger wagging mad, even patronizing, in debate with the college student, not visible in the video. She even busts out with a "No, dear, you're wrong" and "Maybe before you make allegations about Guantanamo, you should read."

Condi has a reason to be so defensive. A Spanish court is opening a criminal investigation into six former Bush officials who may have violated international law by authorizing torture at Guantanamo.

She even goes so far as to say that Guantanamo was deemed a model prison by the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, which isn't true. The organization released a statement last month saying, actually, we never really went there and checked it out.

The local news that ran the footage, CBS5 in San Francisco, which WalletPop picked up from, commented that more exchanges like this one are, inevitably, in Condi's future and that maybe she should have security while on campus. Universities are hotbeds for idealistic thought and action, and the topic of torture is branded on the legacy of the Bush White House. Condoleezza Rice is the new Henry Kissinger, so we'll see how long she lasts on campus before returning to the safe enclaves of consulting.

Thank God for college kids! I recently got to read my grandfather's memoirs, about his four years in a secret Soviet prison as a political prisoner, and the torture he endured there at the hands of the KGB. Let's just say there are powerful scenes that closely resemble some of the tactics used at Guantanamo.

Condi probably expected she'd be safe visiting a public elementary school on Sunday in the Washington, DC area. But a fourth grader, at the Jewish Primary Day School of the National Capital, again brought up the issue of waterboarding. According to the Washington, Post, the student asked, "What did Rice think about the things President Obama's administration was saying about the methods the Bush administration had used to get information from detainees?"

In the video footage, after the jump, shown by CNN, Condi seems to take the question in stride, but the fact that she's emphasizing the supposed legality of her actions almost comes off as pleadingly defensive.

Inna Lerner, the mother of the fourth grader, Misha Lerner, says her son originally tried to ask a tougher question, but his teachers pre-screened the questions and had him change it from, "If you would work for Obama's administration, would you push for torture?"

Somebody get that kid a blog.

Read Full Story

From Our Partners