U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (L) and Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni hold a joint news conference at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Israel in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv November 6, 2008. The White House acknowledged for the first time on Thursday that Israel and the Palestinians were unlikely to reach a peace deal before President George W. Bush leaves office in January. Rice, beginning a four-day visit to the Middle East, said Israel's decision to call a parliamentary election, scheduled for Feb. 10, had created a "different situation" that made it "very difficult" to come to an agreement. REUTERS/Pavel Wolberg/Pool (ISRAEL)
OK, so that caption is really funny, as is this article, for instance. "Rice admits Middle East deal this year is unlikely," says the headline, so you'd think that she came right out and said that in coherent sentences. But you'd be so, so wrong! She talked to her traveling companions on her magic airplane on the way over, and then gave a presser with her lesbian lover, Tzipi, afterward, and OMG, so funny! Here's a sampling of the reporters' questions, and you can just hear them getting increasingly exasperated with Condi's nonsensical non-answers:
- When might those circumstances permit? You’re talking about after the Israeli election or after – so it’s done and the end of year goal is finished?
- But you seem to recognize that there won’t be any agreement. Does it mean that you would be ready to offer a document or to prepare something, kind of frame – role – framework that the parties would use in the next – in the future?
- Just to ask the question in a very bald way: Both the parties, at very senior levels, have said an agreement is not possible this year. Do you concur?
- You said it was going to be important at some point to wrap all this together. How do you envisage that?
- You talked to – a moment ago about sort of stating the obvious. Why are you reluctant to just state the obvious, that the end of the year simply isn’t possible?
And a typical Condi response:
Now you say, is this the end of the process, or someone asked is it the end of the process for me. As I said, I’ve learned not to predict. And I expect to be continuing to work on this with the parties until the day that we leave. But the important thing is to make certain that there is a recognition of the substantial progress that they have made, a recognition of the commitment that these parties have made to concluding the work of Annapolis, and a solid international foundation of support for what they’ve tried to do and what they’re going to continue to try to do.
Um, OK! Whatever you say, Condi! You've got to hand it to her, though, for coming up with so many ways to vaguely, meaninglessly imply the same thing, none of which were anywhere near as clear as "Rice admits Middle East deal this year is unlikely." Kudos to The Independent's crack team of translators!
And of course the reporters couldn't resist asking about Obama and trying to goad Condi into saying whether or not she was sad McCain lost, but she wasn't having any of it. One enterprising reporter, though, found a way to combine Obamamania and Condi's peace failures into one compact, super-meanypants query which may be the single cruelest question she's ever gotten:
Madame Secretary, do you think that your service as Secretary of State, one of the highest jobs in the United States, as Secretary Powell’s job, was one of the elements that led to a change of hearts in the American people and led to the election of Barak Obama as the first African American president? And what you will recommend him to do? You know that he is for engagement. Will you recommend him to engage on the Syrian track or to neglect it totally, ignore it, as you did?
In other words, "Are you going to give the new SOS advice on how not to suck like you?" OMG, so mean! Condi did not answer the question.