Oprah: Do you discuss international politics with your girlfriends?

Condoleezza: Absolutely not! I do have one friend who's a Stanford faculty member, and when we get together we bore everyone else by going off into Russia-speak. But otherwise I spend time talking with my friends about sports and what they're up to.

Oprah: How does a person get the kind of confidence you have if they don't have the parents you did?

Condoleezza: That person has to have someone. My father was that kind of person for a lot of kids.

Oprah: I've talked to hundreds of women who have reached a point in their lives where they've realized something is missing. What words of wisdom do you have for those who are in that place?

Condoleezza: Find what you love to do. When I was at Stanford, I would tell my freshmen, "Find your passion. You've got four years in college, and if at the end of it you know what makes you want to get up in the morning, that's all you need." Then I'd tell their parents, "If your kid comes home and says, 'I'm going to major in Etruscan art,' don't panic. Who knows? Maybe they'll manage to turn that into something they can actually make a living from." You're never really fulfilled unless you find something you love, and a lot of people, particularly women, spend so much time taking care of everybody else that they don't have time to learn what they love doing. And yet it's never too late to learn that.

Oprah: Where did you think studying Russian history would take you?

Condoleezza: I had no idea. So many people would ask me, "What are you going to do with that?" and I'd say, "Well, the job market's a lot better in Russian history than it is in concert piano!"

Oprah: Do you believe in affirmative action?

Condoleezza: When it's practiced well—when you don't tell people you have to have 15 percent of this or 20 percent of that, even if someone's not qualified.

Oprah: And you're pro-choice.

Condoleezza: I call myself mildly pro-choice, meaning that I think I'm where a lot of American women are—I believe in parental notification. I cannot believe that [in some states] your 15-year-old daughter has to have your permission to have her ears pierced but not to have an abortion. That seems crazy. And I mostly don't think abortion is an issue for the government.

Oprah: Would you ever run for office?

Condoleezza: That's hard for me to imagine.

Oprah: So you couldn't visualize yourself in the Oval Office?

Condoleezza: No. I think I'll be NFL commissioner.


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