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Condoleezza Rice,

public official, was confirmed as secretary of state in January, despite Democratic criticism that she overlooked warnings of an al-Qaeda attack prior to Sept. 11 and for her role in the Iraq war. Rice, Bush's national security adviser during his first term, is the first black woman to hold the position. Rice and Bush are said to have the closest relationship since Nixon and Kissinger, and she has twice been named the world's most powerful woman by Forbes. She visited about 40 countries in 2005, setting the tone for U.S. diplomacy.


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