Republican senators’ scathing criticism of U.N. ambassador Susan Rice is a politically-motivated attack.
Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have called Rice unqualified and untrustworthy and promised to scuttle her nomination if President Barack Obama nominates her to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
A group of 97 House Republicans sent a letter to Obama on Monday, saying that Rice misled the nation about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, making her unfit to be a candidate to succeed Clinton.
In response, African-American and female House Democrats said the attacks on Rice, who is an African-American woman, smacks of sexism and racism.
“All of the things they have disliked about things that have gone in the administration, they have never called a male unqualified, not bright, not trustworthy,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge, the next chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. “There is clear sexism and racism that goes with these comments made by unfortunately Sen. McCain and others.”
Some suggested that the Republicans are bitter about Obama’s re-election and are taking it out on the U.N ambassador.
“To batter this woman because they don’t feel they have the ability to batter President Obama is something we the women are not going to stand by and watch,” said Rep. Gwen Moore. “Their feckless and reckless speculation is unworthy of their offices as senators.”
The female lawmakers were right to aim their criticism directly at McCain, who said Rice was “not being very bright” in her comments. They correctly pointed out that Rice was a Rhodes Scholar who graduated tops in her Standford University class whereas McCain was in the bottom of his class at the U.S. Naval Academy.
The Republican senators say their criticism of Rise is over her initial account of the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Libya.
At issue are Rice’s comments in a series of television interviews five days after the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Republicans insist that she have labeled terrorism rather cite a protest over an anti-Muslim video that had roiled cities in the Middle East.
However Rice’s Republican critics know full well that she made her comments based on an initial intelligence assessment that eventually proved incorrect.
Former CIA director David Petraeus told congressional committees that Rice’s comments “reflected the best intelligence at the time that could be released publicly,” according to Rep. Adam Schiff, a lawmaker who attended the session.
McCain, Graham and other Republican critics of the Ambassador Rice are hypocrites who are engaging in partisan politics.
The fact is Susan Rice made remarks based on faulty intelligence provided to her. This is something of which her critics should be familiar.
Republicans defended former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who had falsely warned of weapons of mass destruction in pressing for war in Iraq that killed more than 4,400 Americans. No weapons of mass destruction were found.
Obama has vehemently defended Rice. He responded last week at a news conference, saying McCain and Graham should “go after me” if they want to criticize administrative actions. He said Rice had nothing to do with the Benghazi affair and “to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.”
If Obama believes Rice is the best person to take over the State Department after Clinton steps down he should nominate her and not be deterred by partisan attacks.