Misha Lerner, 4th-Grader, Questions Condoleezza Rice on Waterboarding (VIDEO)

06/03/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stirred controversy last week when, under questioning from students at Stanford University, she insisted that the Bush administration had not tortured and claimed, "by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture."

On Sunday, during her first public appearance in Washington since she left office, Rice was questioned again about her involvement in President Bush's torture policy -- this time by fourth-grader Misha Lerner at a Jewish day school. The Washington Post reports:

Misha Lerner, a student from Bethesda, asked: What did Rice think about the things President Obama's administration was saying about the methods the Bush administration had used to get information from detainees?

Rice took the question in stride. saying that she was reluctant to criticize Obama, then getting to the heart of the matter.

"Let me just say that President Bush was very clear that he wanted to do everything he could to protect the country. After September 11, we wanted to protect the country," she said. "But he was also very clear that we would do nothing, nothing, that was against the law or against our obligations internationally. So the president was only willing to authorize policies that were legal in order to protect the country."


Misha's mother Inna told the Post that Misha originally planned to ask a tougher question -- "If you would work for Obama's administration, would you push for torture?" -- but he was asked to change it. "They wanted him to soften it and take out the word 'torture.' But the essence of it was the same."

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