When asked Friday what the U.S. position is on Iran refusing to let women run for office, Psaki gave a characteristically weak policy answer.
“We don’t take positions on any candidates, as you know, and we hope that the upcoming presidential elections will be free, fair and transparent and will represent the will of the Iranian people. So we wouldn’t weigh into decisions made by the government,” she said.
“If you’re being fair it would seem, to exclude 50 percent of the population from an election, would already mean that it is not a fair election,” a reporter responded.
“It seems astounding that this department — I mean, what if — what if they decided to exclude as this country once did not merely women but black people; would that be acceptable to you? That’s just their choice? They do it any way they want, and you’re not going to stand up for democratic rights?” a reporter continued.
Psaki said there are “a lot of ways to, of course, define” free and fair, “but again, we don’t select or play a role in selecting who the candidates are.”
“We can take a look through the process. I’m happy to comment once it’s completed,” she added.
Over at the United Nations, Ambassador Susan Rice worked two Democratic presidential campaigns — as a foreign policy adviser to Kerry in 2004 and to Obama in 2008 — before moving into her role at Turtle Bay. Here she became the loyal talking-points delivery person days after the Benghazi terror attack, and even though she withdrew her name for secretary of State she’s still high in the running to become Obama’s national security adviser in his second term — a post that requires no Senate confirmation.
But also in a high position on the U.S. team at the UN is a former Democratic political player with no State Department experience.
In 2010, Obama picked Joe Torsella as U.S. Representative to the United Nations for Management and Reform, a position carrying the title ambassador. Torsella, former deputy mayor for policy and planning in Philadelphia, unsuccessfully ran for the House in 2004 and bucked for the 2010 Senate nomination before Arlen Specter switched parties. When pulling out of the race, he said it was for the good of the Democratic Party.
Torsella was CEO of the National Constitution Center when Obama gave a key 2008 campaign speech on race relations there. The center also hosted a Democratic primary debate between Obama and Hillary Clinton.
On Nov. 1, Torsella gave $2,000 to Obama’s campaign.
When Torsella was the one on the campaign trail, Rice gave $2,000 to his House bid and $2,400 to his Senate effort.
The buzz in diplomatic circles has been that Torsella’s inexperience has been evident on the job, particularly with the weighty task of reforming the UN. In March, he scolded other countries for tipping the booze during UN budget negotiation meetings.
When Clinton became secretary of State, she moved her trusted political team into Foggy Bottom with her — and that team, with its political management approach to an unfolding terror attack, appears to be the source of many of her Benghazi troubles.
One of those is Cheryl Mills, her right-hand woman who was also President Clinton’s deputy White House counsel.
At the most recent Benghazi hearing, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee heard from whistleblower Gregory Hicks, the No. 2 diplomat in Libya at the time of the attack, who was angrily reprimanded by Mills for talking to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) during a congressional investigatory trip to Tripoli.
“She demanded a report on the visit,” Hicks testified. “She was upset.”