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Republicans on talk shows continue to criticize Susan Rice

December 02, 2012|By Katherine Skiba | This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
  • U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice walks from the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice walks from the U.N. General… (Craig Ruttle / Associated…)

WASHINGTON -- Speaking on Sunday's TV talk shows, Republicans sharpened their attacks on Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a potential nominee for the next secretary of State.
 
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that Rice "didn't do herself much good" during her visits to Capitol Hill last week.
 
He added: "I find her lacking when it comes to being the best choice for being secretary of State."
 
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," noted that she had met with Rice last week and remained "very troubled" about the ambassador's potential nomination to head the State Department.
 
At issue are public comments Rice made after the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, which left U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead.
 
In private meetings with lawmakers, Rice has acknowledged that her initial characterization of the Benghazi attacks -- as a spontaneous protest triggered by an anti-Muslim video -- was inaccurate. But she has stressed that she was not trying to mislead anyone.
 
Graham, though, on Sunday accused Rice of a "treasure trove of misleading statements that have the effect of helping the president" and "downplaying a debacle."
 
What Rice said on a series of talk shows on Sept. 16 "does not remotely meet the truth," he said.
 
Democrats, while agreeing with Republicans that the security situation leading up to the Benghazi attacks should be investigated, sought to defend Rice.
 
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," said what was happening to Rice was "very unfair" and that more attention should be paid to the information provided to Rice by the CIA, which was then headed by former Army Gen. David H. Petraeus.
 
"The talking points were from the intelligence community, yet you don't hear one criticism of David Petraeus," she said.
 
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) told CNN that nothing he has heard would disqualify Rice from serving as secretary of State. He called it "amazing" that the focus was on Rice's talking points and not the tragedy that left four Americans dead.

[For the Record, 12:39 p.m. PST  Dec. 2: An earlier version of this post contained a reference to Rice receiving talking points from the intelligence committee. That has been corrected to the intelligence community.]

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kskiba@tribune.com

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