CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Bush's National Security Adviser in the run-up to the invasion was, by common consent, not up to the job, steamrollered or ignored by the "big beasts" – Powell, Rumsfeld and Cheney. After the 2004 election, she replaced Powell as Secretary of State. She made a promising start, seeking to repair relations with US allies fractured by the war. But despite close ties with the President that Powell never enjoyed, she has been a disappointment. Her reputation never recovered after she described Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 2006 as "the birth pangs of the new Middle East". Her efforts to broker an Israeli/Palestinian deal by the end of this year seem futile. Once mentioned as a Vice-Presidential, even Presidential, candidate in 2008, Rice is likely to return to a top post at Stanford University, California, when Bush leaves office.