When: Friday, May 23 at 4PM ET
Where: CNBC's "Closing Bell w/Maria Bartiromo"
Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. During the interview, Rice discusses the price of oil, the U.S. approach to Iran and Iraq, among other topics.
All reference must be sourced to CNBC's "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo."
MARIA BARTIROMO, host: And joining us now is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Secretary Rice, so nice to have you on the program. Welcome back to CNBC.
Secretary of State CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Thanks. It's great to be with you, Maria.
BARTIROMO: Thanks so much. I know you've been traveling and visiting various events with David Miliband, the UK foreign secretary. Tell me what you're trying to accomplish this week.
Sec. RICE: Well, I have a couple of goals. First of all, I love to get my foreign minister colleagues out of Washington, DC, and the New York environment to show them other parts of America. But in this case, we wanted to come here to the Silicon Valley, which is right at the center of America's capacity for innovation and new technologies, and we're concentrating quite a lot on the prospect for new clean technologies that will allow us to continue to grow the economy, diversify our energy supply and the good environmental stores. And so that's really the origin of this trip.
BARTIROMO: Let's talk a little bit about that, the issue of the day, no doubt about it, Secretary Rice, the price of oil, and we find ourselves really in a curious position here where so much money is flowing out of the United States and actually into the Middle East because obviously that is where the oil is. How did we get here?
Sec. RICE: Well, we need a comprehensive energy policy, and President Bush has been talking about a comprehensive energy policy practically since the first day that he was elected. It's very important that we diversify supply. That means that we have to find ways, energy sources that are not carbon based. That's why alternative sources of energy, new technologies will be very important. We need to increase our refining capacity. It has been a problem for us to be able to refine. And we also need to have exploration at home. We obviously need, also, to conserve, but you can't conserve your way out of the crisis. You really have to have a diversified and comprehensive policy, and that's what the president has tried to do. Unfortunately, I think we've not made the strides that we need to, for instance, in domestic exploration.
BARTIROMO: You know, it seems like many of the same senators who are wanting oil profit taxes on the--on the big oil companies are the same senators who are saying, `Look, we cannot drill here and we can't go to ANWR and this is off limits, not in my backyard.' Why is it that it has been so difficult to reach an agreement in Congress?
Sec. RICE: Well, I don't know. It is unfortunate that we continue--while we say that we want to be less addicted to foreign oil, which has been one of the president's goals, we say we want to be less addicted to foreign oil, but then we say to oil producers `you have to increase supply' rather than thinking about what we can do at home to increase supply. And, of course, the ability to use our domestic resources, our domestic sources of oil would be a very important part of that. Nuclear energy is another clean technology that we should be using and exploring. We simply have put ourselves into a situation in which it's hard to break our addiction to oil. We're not going to get out of it quickly, I'm afraid, unless--and it's high time to get started on the diversification of our energy resources.