A dozen House women held a sort of “save Susan Rice” press conference this morning, vowing to “not allow a brilliant public servant’s record to be mugged, to cut off her consideration to become Secretary of State.”
‘‘It is a shame that anytime something goes wrong, they pick on women and minorities,’’ said Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), the incoming chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
“Some members of the Senate have been unable to contain themselves while we await two ongoing investigations into the tragic attacks in Benghazi, Libya, which took the lives of four Americans, including the ambassador. Instead, they have rushed forward to try to shoot the messenger, prejudge the investigation, and block consideration of Ambassador Susan Rice to be considered for Secretary of State,” said D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D).
“We do not intend to stand by while Ambassador Susan Rice, who had nothing to do with the Benghazi attack and its aftermath, is made the scapegoat of the tragedy because she relayed to the public the only official intelligence that was available to the administration at the time. The rush to judgment against the Ambassador is particularly unprofessional and reckless, considering that the intelligence irrefutably documents her public remarks,” Norton added.
The defense of Rice arose from Democrats — including President Obama — after Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said they would oppose any potential promotion of Rice to Hillary Clinton’s job given the UN ambassador’s role in conveying the administration message, days after the attack, that the Benghazi attack was the result of spontaneous protests over an anti-Muhammad video.
“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 (D-Wis.). “Their feckless and reckless speculation is unworthy of their offices as senators.”
The Susan Rice defense also got a bit of a hand today from a Republican senator: Intelligence Committee vice-chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).
“I’m not saying she lied. I’m just saying she didn’t tell — she put a softer touch on what the real facts were. That’s not lying. She just didn’t get out there and say, look, this is a terrorist attack. Somebody screwed up,” Chambliss said this morning on MSNBC.
“…Susan Rice was sent to give a White House message. It was not an intelligence community message. And there’s a very clear distinction in that.”