Obama backs Rice against Republicans
WASHINGTON - Reuters
Obama says he has not made decisions on the new Cabinet yet. AP photoU.S. President Barack Obama backed his ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, telling Republican senators to “go after me” rather than pick on her, also saying that Rice’s name is still among the options to lead the State Department.
Obama’s comments, in a combative tone, came after two senior Republican senators, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, said they would block any attempts by the president to put Rice into a Cabinet position that would require Senate confirmation.
Republicans have singled out Rice because she went on political talk shows in the wake of the Benghazi attack and said it was the “best assessment” of the U.S. government that the strike was not pre-planned. Rice said the assault, which killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, appeared to be a “spontaneous” reaction to a raid on the U.S. embassy in Cairo by extremists and an anti-Muslim video made on U.S. soil. “If Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham, and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I’m happy to have that discussion with them,” Obama said on Nov. 14.
Obama said he had not made decisions on his second-term Cabinet yet, but if he decided that Rice would be the best person to lead the State Department, “then I will nominate her.” Obama also assured Americans that the sex scandal that brought down CIA chief David Petraeus and ensnared another top general has not compromised national security.