Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said President George W. Bush had a “race problem” during Hurricane Katrina, but she defended him against his critics who, she said, tried to use the “race card” against him, according to excerpts from her upcoming memoir, No Higher Honor, published in Newsweek.

In the book, Rice recounted how she went shopping at the expensive Ferragamo shoe store in New York and returned to her hotel:

The airwaves were filled with devastating pictures from New Orleans. And the faces of most of the people in distress were black. I knew right away that I should never have left Washington. I called my chief of staff, Brian Gunderson. “I’m coming home,” I said.

“Yeah. You’d better do that,” he answered.

Then I called the president. “Mr. President, I’m coming back. I don’t know how much I can do, but we clearly have a race problem,” I said.

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