Condoleezza Rice Speaks To The Naples Town Hall

Former Secretary of State and author Condoleezza Rice spoke to a crowd of more than 1,200 attendees at the final event of The Naples Town Hall Distinguished Speaker Series’ 29th season on Tuesday, March 20 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples.

The United States has only one competitor, Condoleezza Rice told an audience of 1,200 in North Naples on Tuesday night. And it’s not China.

“It’s the United States gone bad,” the former secretary of state said.

Rice’s version of a rogue United States is one that does not take care of its “internal problems,” does not stop borrowing money and does not confront “entitlements we can’t afford.”

“We have never had in this country a narrative of ‘Why don’t I have … ?’ or its twin brother ‘Why don’t they give me … ?’ but it’s creeping into our national literature,” she said.

Rice’s appearance Tuesday was the final event of the Naples Town Hall Distinguished Speaker Series’ 29th season. During an hour-long speech at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Rice encouraged policy makers to push for growth in the private sector, which she said needs reduced regulations and low taxes to operate successfully.

“The fact is, it’s the private sector that is creative and innovative and risk taking,” she said. “…Washington, D.C., is a lot of things; creative, innovative and risk-taking, not so much.”

Rice, a Republican, has been discussed as a possible GOP vice presidential nominee. A self-described optimist, Rice said she believed the United States would “conquer” its difficulties if it could preserve what makes the American dream true.

“What our narrative has been (is) if you work hard, you will rise from the lowest circumstances to the very top. And that has made America different,” she said.

Other topics Rice discussed:

Afghanistan: Rice spoke of her experiences on Sept. 11, 2001, saying she learned that day that “a group of faceless terrorists operating out of one of the world’s poorest countries had brought down the twin towers and blown a hole in the Pentagon, and they had probably spent less than $300,000 to do it.”

The former secretary of state spoke in favor of continued U.S. presence.

“If we forget that, if we don’t finish the job in Afghanistan of helping the Afghans govern that territory so the terrorists can’t hide…we will pay again,” she said.

Unemployment and underemployment: Rice emphasized K-12 education as a way to reduce future unemployment.

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