TAMPA, Fla. — Condoleezza Rice is back.
Nearly four years after leaving the White House, the former secretary of state is injecting herself into the center of the heated 2012 political season. She’s raising money for female congressional candidates, dishing endorsements in key races and is poised to become even more involved in Republican politics than at any moment since she left the Bush White House.
On Wednesday night, she’ll take on the full glare of the national spotlight with a prime-time speech here at the Republican National Convention. A Rice aide said the former secretary of state would outline her view of American exceptionalism while calling on Republicans to rally around Mitt Romney. The address will come one week after Rice, an avid golfer, became one of the first two women admitted into the exclusive Augusta National Golf Club, vaulting her into the national headlines.
It’s a surprisingly prominent role for Rice, who has spent her post-White House years at Stanford University, shunning the political spotlight while the cloud of the Bush administration and an unpopular war hung over her legacy as secretary of state.
The unanswered question for Rice — even for her adoring fans in the bubble of the national convention — is whether she still harbors any real political ambition or is just grabbing some publicity for a moment as she dabbles in the 2012 election.
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