Rice, a Soviet specialist, toughened her rhetoric against Russia after the Georgian conflict in 2008, but she initially pursued a policy of outreach. During the 2000 election campaign, she argued that the United States must reengage with Russia and recognize it as both a threat and a partner. "The United States needs to recognize that Russia is a great power, and that we will always have interests that conflict as well as coincide," she wrote. "America can exercise power without arrogance and pursue its interests without hectoring and bluster." Rice supported Bush's trip to Slovenia in 2001 (where Bush famously remarked that he had looked into Putin's eyes and gotten a "sense of his soul"), and reportedly remarked in 2003 that the United States should "punish France, ignore Germany, and forgive Russia" in response to the tepid international support for the Iraq war (Rice never acknowledged the quote).
Romney, meanwhile, has repeatedly criticized Obama's "reset" policy with Russia, accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of striving to rebuild the "Russian empire," and described Russia as America's "No. 1 geopolitical foe" -- a line his surrogates have reiterated.
Rice has been a passionate advocate of foreign aid. In 2006, for example, she declared that "foreign assistance is an essential component of our transformational diplomacy." When the financial crisis struck in 2008, Rice made a plea for preserving international aid. "Some will ask the inevitable question in these troubled times: ‘How can we afford it?'" she observed. "I would ask instead, ‘How can we not afford it?'" Just last year, she joined four other former secretaries of state to defend foreign aid as the GOP presidential candidates -- including Romney -- demanded cuts in the international affairs budget.
Romney has questioned foreign aid in the past, while his running mate, Paul Ryan, has recommended cutting funding for entities such as the State Department and USAID by nearly $5 billion for fiscal year 2013. Ryan will speak right after Rice at the convention.
But Rice likely won't dwell on these topics -- not when there's so much to be said about American exceptionalism.