<!--:es-->Laura Bush predicts Rice won’t run in 2008<!--:-->

Laura Bush predicts Rice won’t run in 2008

Laura Bush believes Condoleezza Rice would make a great president

WASHINGTON – First Lady Laura Bush believes U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would make a great president but predicts she will stay out of the race in 2008.

Many Republicans have been fascinated at the thought that Rice, 51, a confidant of President George W. Bush, might consider a run for the presidency.

Victory would make her America’s first woman and first black president but, while there is even speculation of a race against New York Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton, Rice said as recently as this week that she has no political ambitions.

«I’m all for her. She says isn’t going to run, of course, and I really don’t think she will. But she’d be terrific,» Laura Bush told on Wednesday.

Rice said in an interview published in USA Today newspaper on Tuesday that she was looking forward to going back to Stanford University, where she was provost before joining Bush’s team, when the president leaves office.

«When I go back to Stanford in 3-1/2 years I can guarantee you I will probably oversee dissertations that look at» what went wrong and right in Iraq, she told the paper.

Laura Bush discussed Rice’s future as part of a round of media interviews to show off this year’s holiday decorations for the White House.

With the president’s approval ratings at an all-time low and growing criticism of the Iraq war, Mrs. Bush acknowledged it had been a tough year but said she shared the president’s optimism that conditions would improve in Iraq.

«It really is amazing how far they’ve come,» she said.