Barely had her two guests settled themselves on the Hamilton College set when journalist Andrea Mitchell opened with her first question.
Mitchell, who is the chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC News, is a journalist who doesn’t waste time with small talk, whether she is on the Nightly News, Meet the Press or Today Show. So she turned to her left, where former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sat, and to her right, where former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice waited, and kicked off the 90 minutes by asking her guests to assess the situation in Syria.
Rice, Rice, and Mitchell (Hamilton College President David Wippman joked in his introduction they tried to find a moderator named Rice) entertained and educated about 2,500 people during the college’s second Sacerdote Great Names Series Common Ground program.
While the discussion features two people from opposite political parties - C. Rice worked for Republican presidents Bush 1 and II, S. Rice served in President Barack Obama’s administration - the goal is to have these differing viewpoints discussed in a civil and respectful way.
And that is how it played out in Hamilton’s Scott Field House. Even when the women did not agree on one of the international topics discussed, they kept their back-and-forth friendly.
In fact, their friendship goes back to when they were both at Stanford University, C. Rice as an assistant professor and S. Rice as a student. Late in the program, S. Rice made a comment about their 10 years’ difference in age, to which C. Rice replied, “Who is older?’’
But most of the time was spent on the more serious issues of the United States and relationships with Syria, Iran and Russia.
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