ABC News’ Jonathan Karl Reports: In a weekend interview, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice passed up an opportunity to defend Sarah Palin from allegations that she does not have the foreign policy experience to be vice president.
In a less-than-hearty endorsement, Rice declined to say anything more positive about Palin than "she gave a terrific speech" and "she’s a governor of a state here in the United States" during her interview with Zain Verjee of CNN.
Asked point-blank if Palin has enough experience, Rice said, "These are decisions that Senator McCain has made. I have great confidence in him." Confidence in Palin? Rice didn’t say.
Rice added: "I’m not going to get involved in this political campaign. As Secretary of State, I don’t do that. But I thought her speech was wonderful."
Comparing Vice President Cheney’s foreign policy background Palin’s, the interviewer asked Rice to respond to critics who say she "just won’t be able to handle it."
Rice’s response: " There are difference kinds of experience in life that help one to deal with matters of foreign policy."
More Rice: "You know, she’s governor of a state here in the United States."
Rice also said she’d be the "last" to advise Palin in a foreign policy debate against Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden.
In contrast, Vice President Cheney readily defended Palin’s qualifications. Talking to reporters in Rome on Monday, Cheney said, ""There’s no reason why Sarah Palin can’t be a successful vice president in a McCain administration."