The Susan Rice Roller Coaster Ride – “Softened” Senators Now “Significantly Troubled” and “Disturbed”

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.

“I am more disturbed now than before,said South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (video).

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.




4 responses

  1. OK. I understand some folks’ objections to holding AMB Rice’s feet to the fire over this. After all, she was just repeating what she was told, right? Sort of like a former, well respected SecState.

    But. Haven’t we heard ad nauseum (at least before November) that (A) Al Qaeda was on the run, and (B) that this attack was just rabble, protesting a silly video?

    It seems a coincidence that only a few weeks before a national election that an administration wants to shape a narrative, and manipulate information that might warp that same narrative just a lil’ bit?

    That sure does sound familiar to me.

    No good, self respecting liberal needs to fall on their sword and admit that this administration is no better than the preceding one, but at least have the intellectual honesty to admit that our President is a politician first.

    • Warpiper – thanks for your note. As I have blogged here earlier, I think the president can do better at State than this rumored nominee.

      If this were reversed and the GOP were in the WH, would the outcome have been different? Probably not. Our leaders are in the positions they are in because they are politicians mindful of perceptions. And that’s true whether there’s a democrat or a republican in the WH. That’s the way the world rocks.

      According to exit polls, fifty-nine percent of voters said the economy was the biggest issue facing the country, about the same percentage as 2008. Next were health care (18 percent) and the deficit (15 percent). A measly 5 percent said foreign policy was the top issue. Even if we grant that shaping the narrative might have been the case here, how would that have changed the elections? Would voters have casted their ballot on whether or not AQ has been decimated? I very much doubt that.

      I do not begrudge the senators from asking questions, that’s their right but she had admitted the mistake, what else is there to do? Congress required State to investigate matters like this. They set the rules with the mandated ARB. If they do not trust that process, then it is within their power to change that. I would much rather they point their attention on whether or not it is appropriate and acceptable for the Foreign Service to operate with such a light footprint in dangerous places around the globe. Should unarmed diplomats even be in a war zone? To what purpose? Are we prepared as a country to count them as battlefield casualties? Also Congress need to ensure that when the CIA operates within the shadow of a diplomatic mission that the two agencies are not pointing fingers at each other when it comes to security. There are larger issues that needs a more immediate discussion and I feel that they are wasting their time on this one.

      • DM- I agree with pretty much everything you said here. I also understand priorities when it comes to what voters are concerned about. What tweaks me in this whole process (and it is the same thing that tweaked me back around 2003) is that somewhere along the line, there has been a failure of integrity. Whether it leads to nothing at all or it leads to hundreds of thousands of war casualties does not matter. I expect this behavior from divorce attorneys, but I expect better from the government. Maybe that is why I am so often disappointed.

        • Warpiper – Unfortunately, the war casualties do not matter since that burden is carried by a slim fraction of our population. Lives are forever changed in an instant, whereas for the rest of the country, life goes on with very few interruptions. If our decision makers had sons and daughters going to war, would they have just easily voted to go to war? Would we be angling to wade into another war of intervention? Most probably not.

          Politicians will, without a doubt, disappoint. Even those we admire and believe in at one time or another. I think the closer you are to Washington, the more political it gets. And the greater the desire to stay, the more dangerous it gets to that inner sense of wholeness. The trade off just to stay in the game is often a fractured self. Politics is warfare by another name, and like a shooting war, no one returns home unchanged.