Condoleeza Rice delivers Work Truck keynote to packed room

If America is ever going to get its act back together, it’s going to be done on the backs of its citizens.

That’s the message former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivered to a packed house at the NTEA’s President’s Breakfast during the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, Ind. Thursday.

Rice says there is a strong need to “put innovation back into the hands of the private sector,” adding that relying on Washington to lead innovations has historically been a poor idea.

Among the challenges facing the world – tensions in the Ukraine, North Korea and a sputtering global economy – Rice says she expects America to persevere. Because, simply put, that’s just what we do.

“We will do it because America makes the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect,” she says.

Rice spoke highly of the country’s potential to emerge as a global leader in fuel production as shale fields pump more fuel daily than can be consumed.

“We have a great new gift in the North American energy platform,” she says. “If we don’t make a mistake and cut it off, we’re going to dominate the energy market around the world, and we’ll do it with green energy.”

Rice’s speech, which captivated the audience for its duration and brief question and answer session, covered an array of topics including college football, her experiences during 9/11 and her perception of global leaders.

On college football: Rice said she was appreciative of having been selected to serve on the college football playoff system’s board. Dressed in what she called “colt-blue” – a nod to fellow Stanford alum and the hometown Colts quarterback Andrew Luck – Rice, a self-proclaimed lifelong football fan and daughter of a high school football coach, says she watches a lot of football during the season and is looking forward to steering its playoff system this season. She also professed to being a long-time Cleveland Browns fan, which received a smattering of applause (from the Ohio contingency, I assume.)

On world leaders: Rice called Russian leader Vladimir Putin “a bully” who rules through intimidation, and called his advances on the Ukraine a violation of international law. Rice recalled that former South Korean leader Kim Jong Il lived “in a fantasy land.” Rice, however, noted his fantasy land appeared to have some boundaries. His son, who now rules the land, Kim Jong Un, Rice says seems to lack those boundaries, making him far more volatile, illogical and unpredictable.

Rice’s keynote address was a phenomenal highlight to a fantastic show, but if you’re waiting for her to launch her political campaign, you’re out of luck.

Rice says she’s always appreciated the opportunity to serve her country, but has no desire to be elected. She says she doesn’t have the love for political theatre that a candidate must embrace as they campaign.

There is a very captivating and regal quality about Condoleezza Rice and that is even obvious sitting at a banquet table with 12 other people from 1,000 feet away.

And even with that, there is something very comforting about her not entering the political arena. As Rice herself said in her speech, we need to “put innovation back into the hands of the private sector.”

Having her brilliance, ingenuity and compassion remain in the private sector rather than sending it to Washington is a good consolation prize.