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Oprah: That's wise. In the early days after September 11, we were told too much: Let's just announce it to the world that if you're looking for the president, he's in the bunker in Omaha!

Condoleezza: Right. The American people do need basic information, and when there is a higher-than-usual-threat warning, it's often because there's a lot of information in the system, but nothing very specific. The alert is saying "Be vigilant. Don't let your guard down. You may see some extraordinary measures, but welcome them." Because of the way these networks are embedded in the United States, it's not inconceivable that you could be walking down the street in Chicago and hear something that might be helpful. But the FBI alerts don't mean you shouldn't go to the movies or a football game.

Oprah: I hear that football is one of your passions.

Condoleezza: My dad was a football coach when I was born, and I was supposed to be his all-American linebacker. He wanted a boy in the worst way. So when he had a girl, he decided he had to teach me everything about football. Starting from when I was about 4, we would sit on Sunday afternoons and watch football, and the day after Thanksgiving we would play the "Rice Bowl" in the backyard. I find football so interesting strategically. It's the closest thing to war. What you're really doing is taking and yielding territory, and you have certain strategies and tactics.

Oprah: Were you very close to your father?

Condoleezza: Very.

Oprah: When my best friend, Gayle, lost her mother, she said, "I think I lost my anchor." Is that how you felt when you lost your dad?

Condoleezza: I lost my mother first in 1985 to breast cancer—and at that point I did feel like I'd lost part of my anchor. Fortunately, I moved back to California after working in the last Bush administration, and my father and I had a lot of time together. I've heard others who have lost both parents say you feel like an orphan. I didn't feel that, but something defining in my life is no longer there. I'm nobody's little girl anymore.

Oprah: What do you do to kick back and have fun? Do you still play the piano?

Condoleezza: Last Thanksgiving I played for the first time in a long time, and I loved it. I also watch sports. I have actually sat and watched football from ten in the morning until nine at night, game after game. And I love to exercise.

Oprah: You're a rare human being! I take my skirt off to you!

Condoleezza: Well, I don't love it while I'm doing it, but I love the feeling afterward. I also love to shop. I can get lost in a store for hours.

Oprah: What do you like shopping for?

Condoleezza: Clothes—and shoes. Love the shoes!

Oprah: Do you have girly-girl moments with your friends?

Condoleezza: Oh, sure.

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