RNC 2012: Condoleezza Rice delivers speech to Republican National Convention in Tampa

Good evening. Distinguished delegates, fellow Republicans, fellow Americans.

We gather here at a time of significance and challenge. This young century has been a difficult one. I will never forget the bright September day, standing at my desk in the White House, when my young assistant said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center — and then a second one — and a third, the Pentagon. And then the news of a fourth, driven into the ground by brave citizens that died so that many others would live. From that day on our sense of vulnerability and our understanding of security would be altered forever.

Then in 2008 the global financial and economic crisis stunned us and still reverberates as unemployment, economic uncertainty and failed policies cast a pall over the American recovery so desperately needed at home and abroad.

And we have seen once again that the desire for freedom is universal — as men and women in the Middle East demand it. Yet, the promise of the Arab Spring is engulfed in uncertainty; internal strife and hostile neighbors are challenging the fragile democracy in Iraq; dictators in Iran and Syria butcher their own people and threaten the security of the region; China and Russia prevent a response; and all wonder, “Where does America stand?”...

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