But that work ethic – unlike the famously single Condoleezza Rice – has not prevented her from a suburban family life. Rice met her husband, Canadian television journalist Ian Cameron, while at college at Stanford. The pair have two children and live in Washington with Rice commuting to New York for UN duties. That has sparked a few complaints that she has missed important meetings, but most analysts see Rice as having done well at the UN – the brusque treatment of Russia and China aside.
"At the UN she has put a bunch of savvy political professionals in there who know the UN pretty well," said Norris.
She has also developed a good working relationship with Hillary Clinton, which was not always guaranteed. When Rice – who served so long in the Clinton White House – plumped for Obama in 2008 it was seen by some around Hillary as a betrayal. But, it seems, the wounds have healed. Nor is that the first time.
'She is a sharpie. But she follows orders' For all those who say she has a reputation as a bare-knuckle fighter, there are others who say it is just the nature of her work and professional passions.