So we heard that Senator McCain has “softened” a tad about the possible Susan Rice nomination. He told Fox News Sunday that he was willing to hear her out. Asked whether there’s anything Rice can do to change his mind, McCain responded:
“Sure, I give everyone the benefit of explaining their position and the actions that they took. I’ll be glad to have the opportunity to discuss these issues with her. Why did she say that Al-Qaeda has been decimated in her statement here on this program? Al-Qaeda hasn’t been decimated, they’re on the rise…So, there’s a lot of questions we have for Ambassador Rice, and I’m sure we’ll have the opportunity to discuss this with her.”
The CSM explains why GOP opposition to Susan Rice is no longer white-hot. The news about what’s softening even made the international news. And then the AP reported that “With congressional opposition softening, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice could find her name in contention as early as this week to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state.”
Yesterday, it was widely reported that the U.N. Ambassador would have a Tuesday meeting with the three key Republican senators, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.). The meeting was reportedly at the request of Ambassador Rice’s office.
So today the folks had their meeting. And then the softened senators are quickly back to their old selves. What more, they are now “significantly troubled,” “more troubled, not less” and obviously “disturbed.”
“We are significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got, and some that we didn’t get, concerning evidence that was overwhelming leading up to the attack on our consulate,” McCain told reporters after the meeting.
Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire said she’s “more troubled, not less,” after talking with Rice and top U.S. intelligence officials about the attacks.
Over at USUN, Ambassador Rice released a statement about her meeting with the three senators saying, “I appreciated the opportunity to discuss these issues directly and constructively with them” and that she and Acting CIA Director Michael Morell stressed that there was no intention to mislead. Here is part of the statement:
“In the course of the meeting, we explained that the talking points provided by the intelligence community, and the initial assessment upon which they were based, were incorrect in a key respect: there was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi. While we certainly wish that we had had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack, as is often the case, the intelligence assessment has evolved. We stressed that neither I nor anyone else in the Administration intended to mislead the American people at any stage in this process, and the Administration updated Congress and the American people as our assessments evolved.”
This is looking more and more like a rough ride. And if Susan Rice does get the nomination and the Senate confirmation dashed with a brutal fight, there will be an extreme ride way ahead. Brutal fights tend to generate intense, unforgettable memories …so, there may be a rumble with every new nomination particularly related to the State Department.
We’re scrapping the bottom for good news on this one — but there is at least this: with Senator McCain and his prospective ranking Republican spot in the Indian Affairs Committee next year, the new Congress should be far from boring. It’ll be nice if they get something done, too, but that would be asking too much.
- GOP Senators ‘More Disturbed’ After Meeting With Susan Rice (huffingtonpost.com)
- GOP Senators Just Met With Susan Rice About Benghazi, And It Did Not Go Well (businessinsider.com)
- Susan Rice Meeting with McCain Leads to More Questions (usnews.com)
- After Benghazi Meeting, 3 Republicans Say Concerns Grow Over Rice (nytimes.com)
- Susan Rice Is Frontrunner for Secretary of State (newser.com)
- Foggy Bottom Race: The Susan Rice Noise Gets Louder, Thanks to Senator McGrouchy (diplopundit.net)