President Obama’s senior campaign adviser defended UN Ambassador Susan Rice as “one of the most remarkable, splendid public servants we have,” deflecting calls from the House Homeland Security Committee chairman for her to step down.
“I can see why if they wanted to say it’s too early to say it’s definitively terrorism, but to rule out terrorism, to say it was not terrorism at that time was a — to me a terrible mistake to make, whether it was done intentionally or unintentionally, and to show the significance of that, I believe she should resign, yes,” Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Friday on CNN.
David Axelrod said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday that he was “shocked” to hear King advocate Rice’s resignation.
“As you know, the president called it an act of terror the day after it happened. But when you’re the responsible party, when you’re the administration, then you have a responsibility to act on what you know and what the intelligence community believes. This was — this is being thoroughly investigated,” he said.
“As the director of national intelligence said on Friday, that was the original information that that was given to us. What we don’t need is a president or an administration that shoots first and asks questions later,” Axelrod continued. “And, you know, Governor Romney leaped out on this Libya issue on the first day, and was terribly mistaken about what he said.”
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.), whose panel is also proving the Benghazi attack, issued a statement in defense of Rice on Friday night.
“I’m deeply disturbed by efforts to find the politics instead of finding the facts in this debate. Everyone who cares about the four fallen Americans in Benghazi would do well to take a deep breath about what happened and allow Secretary Clinton’s proactive, independent investigation to proceed,” Kerry said.
“I’m particularly troubled by calls for Ambassador Rice’s resignation,” he added. “…Our Committee in the Senate has unanimously asked that some highly detailed, highly specific questions be answered as part of the current investigation. Congress will have plenty of time to examine those answers, and to discern what happened in Benghazi once the investigation is fully underway and the facts become clear.”