Rice leaves Clinton welcome note, bids staff goodbye
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice bid a tearful goodbye to her staff on Friday and left behind a welcome note for Sen. Hillary Clinton, who is set to take over the top diplomatic job on Tuesday.
Hundreds of staff turned out at the State Department’s entrance in a farewell ceremony for Rice, who was teary-eyed as she thanked employees for their service and then posed for photographs before leaving the building.
Rice, who plans to write a book about diplomacy from her home in California as well as one about her parents, told reporters she had left a note for Clinton on her desk but declined to say what was in it.
Earlier, senior staff presented Rice with the chair she had used in cabinet meetings during her four-year tenure as Secretary of State.
Clinton is expected to be officially confirmed on Tuesday by the full Senate as the diplomatic chief immediately after the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama.
Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice bids farewell to staff members and employees after her last scheduled work day at the State Department in Washington on Jan. 16, 2009.