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Taking on a New Role, Susan Rice is Asserting Herself

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On Tuesday, Ms. Rice met by Zoom with Randi Weingarten, the longtime president of the American Federation of Teachers, to discuss how to use the public education system to combat the spread of disinformation.

She wanted to talk to Ms. Rice about what she called a “lack of discernment between fact and propaganda,” and said Ms. Rice challenged her “about ‘how do we actually do this from the White House.’”

Ms. Weingarten came away impressed. “I’ve met many of the domestic policy advisers in the White House,” she said. “A lot before were really good people, but they made sure the trains ran on time. She’s a big thinker. Her job is beyond that.”

Ms. Rice’s family is rooted in domestic policy issues, even if her own career has skewed to problems abroad. Her mother, Lois Dickson Rice, a high-powered corporate executive, helped persuade Congress to provide federal subsidies, known as Pell grants, to needy college students. Her father, Emmett J. Rice, was a governor of the Federal Reserve.

“You need someone who understands how to move things forward,” said Cecilia Muñoz, who served as director of the Domestic Policy Council under Mr. Obama. “It’s like being an orchestra conductor. You don’t have to play all of the instruments. You do have to get the most out of each part of the orchestra.”

Mr. Klain added, “Her signature issue is many issues.”

Valerie Jarrett, a longtime adviser to Mr. Obama, said Ms. Rice was chosen in part because she was a known entity to Mr. Biden, who wanted to enter office with a team of advisers who had already worked together.

During the Obama administration, “they had a close relationship, they shared a bathroom, and were on the same hall together,” she said.

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