Dr. Rice shops for shoes while hell on earth for thousands
September 3rd, 2005 4:26 am
As South drowns, Rice soaks in N.Y.
New York Daily News
Did New Yorkers chase Condoleezza Rice back to Washington yesterday?
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.
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.
At the State Department's daily briefing yesterday morning, before the New York incident, spokesman Sean McCormack responded to a journalist who asked whether Rice was involved with hurricane relief efforts by saying, "She's in contact with the department as appropriate." He made no mention that his boss had any plans to leave New York.
But yesterday afternoon, Rice had done just that. Department spokeswoman Joanne Moore told us: "The secretary is back in Washington, and she is being briefed on the situation." Moore did not know whether Condi had planned a longer stay here.