In a conversation that stretched to 75 minutes — and which Rice seemed reluctant to end — the secretary of state said she was counting the hours until Jan. 20. But she yielded little ground in defense of her record or the administration’s performance over the past eight years. After being peppered with questions about regrets, she joked, “Aren’t you going to say, ‘Aren’t you thrilled that . . .?’ ” [...]
Arguing that Iraq shows signs of becoming an inclusive state — it even “declared Christmas a national holiday” — Rice said that if the country eventually emerges as a democratic, multiethnic state that has friendly ties with the United States, “that will be more important than what anybody thought in 2002 or 2003.”
For the record, the United States has declared only Christian holidays as national holidays.