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Lehi » Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged people to work hard to elect Mia Love to Congress, saying the Utahn is an amazing candidate who "believes in this country."

"We need people in Washington who believe, but who believe based on the right values — personal responsibility, fiscal discipline, care for one another, strength for our armed forces and a sense of this very special, exceptional country," Rice said during her 20-minute remarks at a lunch fundraiser.

Rep. Jim Matheson, Love's Democratic opponent in the U.S. House race, said voters, not Washington headliners, will decide the race.

"Condi Rice doesn't know my opponent and she doesn't know me and she doesn't know Utah, and to talk about issues going on in the administration [of President Barack Obama], that's not what we're voting on here in the 4th Congressional District," he said. The race is about Utah issues "and that's what I think is most relevant."

Love said that Rice's visit — along with earlier campaign stops by House Speaker John Boehner, Arizona Sen. John McCain and Rep. Paul Ryan, now the vice presidential nominee — shows that she is the candidate who can elevate Utah's profile.

"We're bringing them to the state of Utah, which again tells you our voice is being heard," Love said. "I'm not there yet and our voice is being heard and amplified throughout the nation. I think Utah is going to make some strong strides, we're going to be at the table when it comes to making decisions and our values are going to be heard."

Supporters paid $100 to attend the event, and $2,500 for a photograph. The event raised about $100,000 for the campaign.

Rice is an adviser with ShePAC, a political action committee that supports female candidates, which has endorsed Love. Mia Love's husband, Jason, said he invited Rice to Utah when he was in Washington earlier this year.

During her comments, Rice walked through the challenges the United States has faced, starting with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which came while she was National Security Adviser to President George W. Bush.

The attacks shook the country's sense of security and she said Americans owe a debt to those in the military, although she did not specifically mention the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq.

She spoke of the housing crisis and the recession and criticized the current administration for "bad policies" and creating economic uncertainty that "stall economic growth that could bring jobs back to our people," and accumulated unsustainable debt.

And she said that the Obama administration has failed to stand with those fighting for freedom in Syria and elsewhere in the region.

But Rice said that what concerns her most is that the "essence of who we are and what we believe is actually changing."

"America has never had a narrative of grievance. We've never believed 'I am doing poorly because you're doing well,'" she said. "The moment we begin to believe that we are doing badly because someone else is doing well, that moment that aggrievement takes over, it's not long before his twin brother comes behind, and that would be entitlement."

Josh Romney, the son of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, got some laughs while introducing the event, saying that he wanted to talk a little about Matheson. "Does anybody have an empty chair I can bring up here?"

He said his father is genuinely concerned about the nation's future and the strain of the national debt and what would happen to the country if he doesn't win the White House.

Twitter: @RobertGehrke