Or Is It Hidden?

Sometimes, as a news consumer, you need to look hard to pick up the almost-subliminal subtext of a reporter’s story. And sometimes they just hit you on the head with it. This, it appears, is one of those times.

Of course, you can decide for yourself:

The Los Angeles Times, Nov. 17:

Official Washington has seldom seen a relationship between a president and a member of his staff as close as the one between George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice.

What is less obvious is how this relationship came to pass — and why it seems to have grown stronger, more trusting and more symbiotic…

“The main element is trust,” said a close associate who has watched Rice and the president work together firsthand… “He calls her all the time.”

“If she’s not literally the first person he talks to every morning, it’s close,” said Coit D. Blacker, one of Rice’s closest friends…

Blacker continued: “He concluded early on that she would be a good partner. She thought, ‘Here’s a guy I can work with — but also spend time with, hang out with.’”

The New York Times, Nov. 17:

“Mr. Bush and Ms. Rice have spent so much time together in the last four years, discussing foreign policy over weekends at Camp David and in long walks at the president’s ranch, that it is difficult to know where one begins and the other ends.”

USA Today, Nov. 17:

…for four years, she has largely forfeited her private life in exchange for an intensely close friendship and working relationship with Bush. “She knows what he wants without his even telling her,” says Mary Matalin.

The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 17:

…few secretaries of state have been as close to their bosses as Ms. Rice…That closeness was underscored by the president’s emotional announcement of her nomination, at which he kissed her and spoke with unusual warmth about her rise from the segregated South.

The Washington Post, Nov. 17:

“In Dr. Rice, the world will see the strength, the grace and the decency of our country,” Bush said, before kissing her on the right cheek. “The nation needs her.”

Aides said Bush and Rice know each other so well they have conversations based on body language, with maybe four words exchanged.

The Los Angeles Times, Nov. 16:

“I can’t think of anyone in that job who has been as close to the president personally as she is,” said James Thomson, president of the Rand Corp.

The New York Times, Nov. 16:

As secretary of state, the woman who has long been Mr. Bush’s single closest foreign policy adviser and confidante would be charged with resolving the clashing views of the world itself - on behalf of a boss whose sentences she can finish, and who trusts her totally to carry out his wishes.

[She] has grown even closer to him through weekends of workouts and watching televised sports at Camp David.

…Mr. Bush’s call to exercise power on his behalf may well have been irresistible.

Is it getting warm in here, or is it just us?

Brian Montopoli

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Brian Montopoli is a writer at CJR Daily.