Time staff writer Tamala M. Edwards spoke with Condoleeza Rice, a sister who is Bush’s foreign policy adviser, in the spin room after the St. Louis debate:


Why is George W. Bush the better choice for Black women?


George Bush is better because we are more dependent on entitlements like Social Security and Medicare and if they are not reformed, they may not be there even when people my age need them. On education, we have kids who are trapped in failing schools and all Gore talks about is the status quo. Okay, so what does that do for kids still trapped there? On tuition, he is most supportive of people needing help getting kids in college. He gives money to Pell grants, historically black colleges, Latino schools and Gore doesn’t.


Some Blacks are put off by Bush’s answers on affirmative action and the death penalty. What would you say to them?


Governor Bush made a very good point. You don’t have to have quotas. Instead he wants to increase the number of people involved in business development and entrepreneurship. There’s the top 10 percent plan in Texas for high school students going to college that came after some changes there [Note: Lower courts found affirmative action college admission programs unconstitutional]. He has a diverse group of advisers. I expect it would be the same in Washington. On the death penalty, the governor of Texas enforces the law. He takes every case seriously. And I believe him.


Should it be reassuring to African Americans that you and Colin Powell support Bush?


It should be reassuring in the following ways: I would not, and I believe Colin Powell would not, serve with someone I did not believe was inclusive, who didn’t believe in one America, who didn’t have the interest of our people at heart. I’ve spent my life worrying about our people and our concerns. We’re dedicated to our heritage and our community and believe he is someone who is good for our issues.