US Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice Sunday dismissed allegations in a new book by one of the
top US investigative reporters that she played politics in 2006 with growing
violence in Iraq.
Rice, who spoke in Morocco during an ongoing trip through northern Africa, said that she had tried to avoid a review of Iraq during the 2006 mid-term elections to prevent the issue from becoming a political football.
She was not trying to protect Republicans who ended up losing control of Congress in the vote, she told reporters, according to a transcript of her remarks released in Washington.
According to excerpts from Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's new book, The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008, Rice realized the strategy in Iraq was in trouble - but didn't want any public knowledge of a White-House driven review because it would give ammunition to the opposition Democrats.
Rice dismissed the suggestion, saying she was concerned "that in the hothouse environment of the fall, we needed to have a review that was not going to turn political with headlines every day about what we were thinking or what we were not thinking."
The day after the 2006 elections, US President George W Bush dismissed controversial Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, and thereafter announced the review of Iraq policy.
Rice said that in fact, had Bush fired Rumsfeld and announced the review before the elections, Republicans may have come out on top.
"I think there are an awful lot of people who think that that would have helped our electoral prospects, not hurt it," she said, according to dpa.