The GOP’s Misguided Crusade Against Susan Rice

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ANDREW GOMBERT / EPA / Corbis

Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., speaks at a press conference in New York City on Feb. 4, 2012

Nearly 100 House Republicans sent a letter to President Obama on Monday urging him not to name Susan Rice as Hillary Clinton’s successor at the State Department. Its tortured reasoning exposes the flimsiness of the GOP’s crusade to make Rice a scapegoat for the Benghazi tragedy.

The letter’s signatories, led by South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan, are among the many Republicans angry and suspicious over the way Rice characterized the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in multiple television appearances five days after it occurred. To be sure, some important unanswered questions linger here, including why security was so inadequate and why the White House was slow to acknowledge that a premeditated terrorist attack had occurred.

(MORE: The Pros and Cons of Picking Susan Rice for State)

But Rice’s role isn’t an especially interesting or important one. In her Sept. 16 television appearances, Rice contended that the attacks seemed related to worldwide protests against an infamous anti-Islamic video, protests that we now know never occurred in Benghazi. Judging by the outrage of some Republicans, you would think Rice had left the consulate’s front gate unlocked. Far from arguing that Rice knowingly did anything wrong, the letter’s Republican signatories complain that she has been perceived, by nonspecified actors, as having lost “credibility” in the affair. Here’s the meat of the letter, obtained by the Hill:

Though Ambassador Rice has been our representative to the U.N., we believe her misleading statements over the days and weeks following the attack on our embassy in Libya that led to the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world…

Ambassador Rice is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi matter. Her actions plausibly give U.S. allies (and rivals) abroad reason to question U.S. commitment and credibility when needed. Thus, we believe that making her the face of U.S. foreign policy in your second term would greatly undermine your desire to improve U.S. relations with the world and continue to build trust with the American people.

(MORE: Benghazi’s Real Scandal: Why Is the Libyan Investigation Such a Mess?)

The problem here is that no one has offered evidence that Rice distorted or concealed any facts known to her. To the contrary, we know that Rice, quite responsibly, spoke from talking points crafted by the U.S. intelligence community. Those talking points have since been shown to be seriously flawed, but that’s not Rice’s fault. As one clever Washington Post reader put it: “Since she presumably does not operate a private intelligence agency, sensible people will wonder what else she could have said.”

Lacking a clear shot at Rice’s actions, House Republicans have resorted to a half-baked argument about appearances. The problem, they argue, is that Rice is “widely viewed” as incompetent or dishonest, not only at home but “around the world.” Whether Rice would fail to win a hearing at, say, the Saudi King’s palace because of this one trip around the talk-show circuit is hard enough to swallow. But when you think about it, the letter also entails a certain chutzpah. If being “widely viewed” as incompetent or dishonest is such a problem, shouldn’t most of the people who signed that letter, being members of Congress and all, themselves be out of a job?

VIDEO: 10 Questions for Susan Rice

785 comments
MrTemecula
MrTemecula

I used to have a modicum of respect for Senator McCain. That's all gone. It's hard to fathom how low the Republicans have fallen where they are now resorting to cheap character attacks on Obama's UN Ambassador since they failed in the election in attacking Obama. It's disgraceful, really. 

sueboss3
sueboss3

Putting the Sunday talk shows aside, here is the real reason Rice is not up to the job of becoming Sec. of State:

As UN ambassador she did the following:  She was a no show for the first 2 emergency mtgs.  She stayed silent when Iran was elected to the UN womens' committee. She was silent when Libya was elected to the human rights council. No shoe for the Haiti crisis mtg., no show for the pre-meeting discussion re; the vote to recognize the Palestinian statehood.  For issues on the Sudan, Egypt, N. Korea, Israel, or Rwanda she has either not shown up or has not been able to present any resolution.  She has presented only 1 resolution on Iran and that was 30 months ago.  She has only been able to pass one resolution and did so with the fewest supporters one can have. Not only is she not qualified to be the Sec. of State, she's not qualified for the job she has now as our UN ambassador.  She should be fired for derelection of duty.  But somebody up there really likes her, and the press thinks she's great.  Have any of you seen a background story on her performance as UN ambassador in the press?

sueboss3
sueboss3

First:  Do people actually believe that Susan Rice never looked at the video of real time attacks taking place in Benghazi for 5 full days before going on major talk shows on the following Sunday?  She never said, "ok, let's see what you got" or something to that effect?  Was she in a blackout or a bubble for 5 days?  That, my friends, is simple incompetance.  Secondly, let's assume she had actual knowledge of the violent attack but chose to go on these talk shows and speak the party line handed to her.  That, quite simply, is lying to the American people with full knowledge of what transpired.  She either did one or the other.  Why is everybody trying to cut her so much slack?

gordyb102
gordyb102

This is a GOP witch hunt going no where. The more they accuse her, the worse they look. Imagine how stupid McCain sounds claiming this Rhodes scholar is dumb when he selected Sarah Palin as running mate. The GOP tends to pick on blacks in the Obama Administration and it is becoming obvious there is a racist element here at work. They need to shut up and try governing instead of constantly attacking the president. They lost the election and if they keep on this track they will lose the next one by even bigger margins.

lythouse
lythouse

Honesty in politics...a novel idea for sure. Susan Rice LIED to the American public regarding the events in Benghazi. Whether it was her own doing, or at the direction of the White House or CIA, she is not qualified to be Secrtary of State if she can not be TRUTHFUL! It is clear that everyone close to the events in Benghazi KNEW this was not a protest event. The cover-up was done to protect the election. She could have simply stated that the event was under investigation, rather than placing blame where it was not warranted! Do not reward this behavior with a promotion!

stormeagle
stormeagle

I'm reposting this as a comment on its own (I previously posted it as a reply to someone, buried in another comment thread, but I want to be clear as to what I am saying.The USA needs, in fact thrives, on the right of people to express opposing opinions. Intelligent debate is a good productive thing, when it is CONSTRUCTIVE. What I am saying is that too often some extreme GOP supporters go over the top. When someone in the press says something even slightly disagreeing with them, these extremists don't debate, or raise points of argument - they demand that the person be fired. They blame the press for being after them. They demand the reporter's head on a plate.Another example - let's look at what was said in this election. The Democrats called Mitt out of touch with the lower and middle classes. They called him a flip-flopper. They said he had promoted something similar to Obamacare in Massachusetts. All of which could be backed up with facts and all of which were attacks on his POLICIES, not on him personally.Contrast that with what the GOP said about Obama. According to them he was, at various times, a Kenyan, a Muslim, a socialist, a fascist (and again I will point out that any educated person will know that fascists and socialists are opposites of each other - you can't be both), and also anti-American! Yikes.All completely personal attacks, all pretty much ridiculous, and all basically unreasonable. That is what I am saying. And on top of that they then they make a big deal about their faith - how Christian they are. Well I don't know what they think Christianity is, but I'm pretty sure, as I said elsewhere, that even Jesus Himself wouldn't condone this sort of behaviour - it's hateful, and basically just mean. Look at how they even roasted Romney for his Mormon faith!To me it's hypocrisy. Just look at some of the same people who attacked Clinton (for his affair with Monica Lewinsky) - who screamed about "family values" - and then turned out to be adulterers, or closet homosexuals, etc.That is what I am complaining about. The USA needs two responsible parties that can engage in meaningful dialogue. But if one of the parties doesn't look at issues objectively, and instead just reacts with wild-eyed over-the-top personal attacks, then the country suffers.So I hope that clarifies what I am saying. I hope certain people posting to this site don't dismiss this again as "having nothing intelligent to say" or "talking in circles" - again simple cliches that reveal no effort to be objective and to actually understand what is being said.

SamSmith
SamSmith

Fox News doesn't allow comment anymore, because they were being trashed to much.  I hope CNN keeps the comments. 

luvboston
luvboston

Republicans are only making as issue of this because she is a black woman.

SamSmith
SamSmith

McCain is a SEnile old, angry man.   Mad at Obama.  Just look at McCain past and we can understand his motives.   He is losing ground fast with his base.   Not sure he is a racist, but he comes from a state that is racist, radical and extreme.    

GetTheFacts
GetTheFacts

Where, oh where, do the Republicans get their information? I suggest they at least check other sources for information rather than just the Republican propaganda machine.

Two articles I read recently support thr fact that Ambassador Susan Rice received her information from the CIA talking points, we now know Benghazi was a CIA operation. The articles can be found online:

"CIA Documents Supported Susan Rice's Description Of Benghazi Attacks" from the Washington Post and "CIA Talking Points For Susan Rice Called Benghazi Attack 'Spontaneously Inspired' By Protests" from CBS News

Yesterday(Nov 19th) nearly 100 House Republicans submitted a letter to President Obama warning him against nominating Ambassador Susan Rice for Secretary of State. This just demonstrates how irrational the House Republicans really are, there is no factual reason, whatsoever, to believe that United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice has done anything wrong. Yet, these 100 House Republicans are acting if she is guilty of some kind of horrible deed, this thoroughly demonstrates these Republicans are irrational and scary reactionaries.

For a later update on this matter see/search the headline:

"Official: Changes To Benghazi Talking Points Made By Intel Community" at CNN 11/19/2012 and "Office Of The DNI Cut 'Al Qaeda' reference from Benghazi talking Points, And CIA, FBI Signed Off" at CBS News 11/20/2012

TerryCooper
TerryCooper

"If being “widely viewed” as incompetent or dishonest is such a problem," shouldn't 0bama along with every Democrat and every Republican be removed from office?

When will you people ever wake up and realize that it doesn't matter how much you vote, the flight plan never changes. Bush was horrible, sadly 0bama picked up right where he left off and is just as bad if not worse.

superlogi
superlogi

@MrTemecula What's disgraceful, is that this partisan lying twit is our ambassador to the UN.  But then, you no doubt voted for one for President of the United States, not just once, but twice.

lopezjohn639
lopezjohn639

@sueboss3   This is total bs.  She's one of the most capable, intelligent, qualified women to coe along in a long time.

lopezjohn639
lopezjohn639

@sueboss3   What total blabber.  You haven't any idea how the CIA works and yet you're back seat quarter backing is STILL a fantasy!

bragg916
bragg916

@sueboss3 Didn't she also say we should not put boots on the ground in Libya because it was to dangerous with the number of weapons in the area?  Then she isn't intellectually curious as to why the state department didn't have an exit strategy for the ambassador? 

bragg916
bragg916

@gordyb102  Are you saying McCain is a racist?  Or is this just a blanket ALL republicans are racist remark?

lopezjohn639
lopezjohn639

@lythouse   LOVE the backseat CIA intelligence ref who has no clue whats even going on!

Meanwhile your party was a total disaster on every level. The blabber is astounding and the intelligence is non-existent.

mwilson3@oh.rr.com
mwilson3@oh.rr.com

@lythouse Repukitards are neocon turds with exlax mentality and in need of kaopectate for their brains! House Republicans cut the administration’s request for embassy security funding by $128 million in fiscal 2011 and $331 million in fiscal 2012." (Washington Post). How about those TWELVE embassies and consulates that were attacked between 2001 and 2008? One of our diplomats, David Foy, was killed in Pakistan in 2006. Where was the outrage then? REPUKITARDS YOU LOST THE ELECTION GIVE IT UP......3,000 AMERICANS LIVES LOST ON 9/11 REPUKITARDS SAY NOTHING! 4 AMERICAN LIVES LOST THEY CRY FOR CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS! WHAT A JOKE!

Physics70
Physics70

@lythouse Didn't you read the article.  There is no evidence that said she lied.  Do you get a brief the rest of the government does not know about??

mbhposter
mbhposter

@stormeagle Your point is good, but reality is that both parties act the same. Wasn't to long ago that Bush was being called a War Criminal by the left. And even in your example, "out of touch" seems way more personal than policy. You need to remember that the talking heads on conservative shows and the TEA party extremists are a MINORITY of Republicans. As you said yourself, these are extremists. As such, ignore them. But also remember, that within the hailstorm of rhetoric, a certain number of valid points sometimes arise. And those cannot be dismissed simply because of the source. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while! And remember too, the far right TEA party only really came into being because of the far left rhetoric and actions that abounded after 2008 elections. The TEA party basically lost this election for Romney and have probably cost the Republicans Senate majority, have certainly cost the GOP seats in congress overall, and will hopefully fade away as any kind of influential force. 2014 midterms are gonna be interesting!

bragg916
bragg916

@stormeagle What a crock!  What leading republican called  Nobel Prize winning president a Kenyan or Muslim?  Republicans went out of their way to get people to stop calling Obama a socialist.

The Clinton Lewinsky event put the Democrats contrary to the position of the right of a woman to not be seen as a sexual object in the work place yet democrats celebrated having sex in the Whitehouse.  It also totally disregarded the women who claimed they were sexually harassed by saying 'drag a hundred dollar bill through a trailer park' as an example of how strongly they held the belief that a woman would not have reason to lie about sex in the workplace.

It seems we are to accept the responsible party is the one that wishes to protect Ms. Rice from what she said five days after an event,  an event seen in real time by the administration, on the basis of her being a black woman.

bragg916
bragg916

@SamSmith Why do you think it is that MSNBC can say the only reason there is an attack on Rice is because she is a black female?  

Do you believe it advances civil behavior?  Or am I also a racist also because I do not believe she believed the administration believed the line put out on the Sunday programs of an event they saw in real time and had four days to investigate.

SamSmith
SamSmith

@Amh  If you look at the most uneducationed it  is in the Republican controlled states or the South.  Republicans hate education.     

TerryCooper
TerryCooper

@luvboston Sorry racecard declined. Thanks for playing try again. 

Are you implying that because of her color she should be given a pass for her incompetence? Everyone knew it was a terrorist attack. Anyone that has stated anything to the contrary were lying and we all know it.

luvboston
luvboston

@SamSmith McCain is a racist.  He does not like anyone that is not a war monger and white.  He has spoken out about women, gays, black, latins.  Look at every political position he has backed.  NONE are racially diverse.

TerryCooper
TerryCooper

@GetTheFacts LMAO it's silly crap like this that keeps you simpletons occupied. You actually believe there is a difference between the left and right.

evil.aaronm
evil.aaronm

@TerryCooper I think, in the last election, it wasn't so much that Obama was a good choice as Romney was a bad one.  I'm neither Republican nor Democrat - I'm an American - but if the Republicans would stop putting up such extreme candidates, of the same caliber as the Taliban, I might consider voting for one.

lopezjohn639
lopezjohn639

@superlogi @MrTemecula Your hatred is real but your logic was debunked a long time ago. This is why the angry, old, white boys lost. Now come the temper tantrums.

bragg916
bragg916

@Physics70 @lythouse You accept that the CIA had no clue that it was not the video five days after the event seen in real time?

lopezjohn639
lopezjohn639

@bragg916    LOVE that "Republicans went out of their way to get people to stop calling Obama a socialist."  fantasy universe where the GOP is suddenly leaping in front of speeding cars to protect Obama!!!!

Whats next?  Will the GOP actually encourage republicans to make an attempt to "WORK" with the president???   Only in a fantastical made-up GOP world.

mwilson3@oh.rr.com
mwilson3@oh.rr.com

@bragg916 @stormeagle Protecting Mrs Rice from a stupid repuglican unwarranted character assaination attempts, is needed by those who see this as a witch hunt that will go nowhere! Repuglicans are trying to manufacture an event to cast a black cloud over the presidency and legacy of President Obama! Well, truth is out but repuglicans haven't got the memo "they have nothing on Susan Rice or the president. Where were their out rage ove 9/11 lies, mishandling and loss of over 3,000 American lives and attacks on:

2002 U.S. Embassy Karachi, Pakistan: 10 killed, 51 injured2004 U. S. Embassy bombed in Uzbekistan: 2 killed, several injured.2004 U.S. Consulate Saudi Arabia: 8 killed2006 US. Embassy Syria: 1 killed, several injured2007 U.S. Embassy -Athens: building bombed with an anti-tank grenade...fortunately no one was in the building at the time.2008-U.S. Embassy – Serbia: 1 dead; Embassy set on fire2008- U. S. Embassy- Yemen- bombed 10 killed

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@TerryCooper @luvboston Still here Troll? Everyone also  stated that her talking points were altered by the intelligence community and thus she provided the info they gave her.

lythouse
lythouse

There is nothing racist about this event...The woman LIED to the American public!! AT the direction of either the CIA or White House. This should not be rewarded by promotion.

Condi Rice is black and was appointed by GOP. THROW AWAY YOU LAME RACIST EXCUSES.

TerryCooper
TerryCooper

@evil.aaronm @TerryCooper I can certainly agree with you about the Republicans nominating bad candidates, but seriously in all honesty 0bama is no better and in reality he has closer ties to the Taliban. After all he was the one that authorized military force to be used WITHOUT Congressional approval to assist the Muslim Brotherhood to take over Egypt. 

If you have been paying attention, Mohamed Morsi the new President of Egypt is siding with the Hamas terrorists.

lopezjohn639
lopezjohn639

@superlogi @lopezjohn639 @MrTemecula 

Stil the angry, old, white boy, eh???   Your temper tantrums are a joke!  Your party can't even run an election much less run a country!  Thank god you're a minority now!!!   Susan Rice WILL be the new Sec. of State and this country will benefit GREATLY!!

TerryCooper
TerryCooper

@stormeagle @bragg916 The problem is you are the unarmed person. Susan Rice lied, she knowingly carried water for the 0bama administration. 

You Sir are an idiot, how on earth can you post such nonsense and expect to be taken seriously.

lopezjohn639
lopezjohn639

@lythouse   McCain IS A RACIST!!!   The GOP are racists!!!   The GOP are now a minority and their TERROR at the thought of them being marginalized, no longer controlling the govt and being OUT VOTED by the majority is making them shake in their confederate boots!