The Bush Diplomacy Surge

With time running out, the President and his Secretary of State are looking for breakthroughs abroad. What that will mean for McCain and Obama

Brooks Kraft / Corbis for TIME

Rice has pushed the White House to work more closely with its allies, like the Bahrainis, on such issues as Middle East peace and curbing nuclear proliferation.

A few days before he left on his eight-country world tour, Barack Obama wanted to discuss the trip with an old contact in Washington: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Obama's phone call was in part a courtesy, but over three years of occasional phone conversations, the two have quietly discussed everything from foreign aid to the Middle East and nuclear proliferation. Obama and Rice have come to have a certain respect for each other, says an Obama aide familiar with their conversations, because both take an intellectual, sober view of foreign affairs. "They've had good exchanges," the aide says. "Does he...

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