Like President Bush, the Secretary of State has been on vacation during the Hurricane Katrina crisis, with Rice enjoying her downtime in New York Wednesday and yesterday. The cabinet member's responsibilities are usually international, but her timing contributed to the "fiddling while Rome burns" impression given by her boss during the disaster, which may have claimed thousands of lives.No one knows if she cut her vacation short but only after some bad press did Condi return to DC.
On Wednesday night, Secretary Rice was booed by some audience members at "Spamalot!," the Monty Python musical at the Shubert, when the lights went up after the performance.
Yesterday, Rice went shopping at Ferragamo on Fifth Ave. According to the Web site www.Gawker.com, the 50-year-old bought "several thousand dollars' worth of shoes" at the pricey leather-goods boutique.
A fellow shopper shouted, "How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!" - presumably referring to Louisiana and Mississippi.
The woman expressing her First Amendment rights was promptly removed from the store. A Ferragamo store manager confirmed to us that Rice did shop there yesterday, but refused to answer questions about whether the protester was removed, and whether by his own security or the Secret Service.
Thanks, Condi. Not only did you make yourself look like an insensitive clod but you aren't exactly helping the image of women in high public office-- shoe shopping in NYC while tens of thousands Americans are suffering, starving, drowning and dying?!?
I hope all those pairs of $400 shoes were worth it. (I checked, that is the average price for Ferragamo shoes.)
Update: At least Condi had the sense to get back to work yesterday; Vice President Cheney is still(??) on vacation in Wyoming.