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article image97 U.S. House Republicans target Susan Rice in letter to Obama

By Yukio Strachan     Nov 21, 2012 in Politics
Nearly 100 House Republicans — who have no say in the confirmation process — have signed a letter strongly opposing any efforts to nominate U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as next secretary of State.
The letter, submitted Monday, the 97 House Republicans organized by South Carolina freshman Jeff Duncan announced their opposition to Rice’s potential appointment to State.
“Though Ambassador Rice has been our Representative to the U.N., we believe her misleading statements over the days and weeks following the attack on our embassy in Libya that led to the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world,” the letter reads, adding: “Ambassador Rice is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi affair.”
As Politico notes, under the Constitution, only the Senate has the power to give advice and consent to the administration on Senior-level nominees; the House does not.
Rice has come under withering criticism from Republicans for her initial assessment that the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya was a spontaneous assault. The administration later said it was a pre-planned attack.
Rice has had several defenders, including the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who has pointed out that Rice's description was based on CIA-provided talking points, and that she should not be "pilloried" for voicing what were then the best assessments of the intelligence community.
Still, two Republican lawmakers have said her actions disqualify her for the top job at the State Department. "We will do whatever is necessary to block the nomination that's within our power as far as Susan Rice is concerned," Sen. John McCain, the top GOP senator on the Armed Services Committee, told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference.
McCain said the information that Rice should have known that it was a terrorist attack.
"I don't trust her," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. said last week.
According to the Washington Post, at a news conference last week, Obama defended Rice and offered a stern rebuke to her opponents.
“If Senator [John] McCain and Senator [Lindsey] Graham, and others want to go after somebody? They should go after me. And I’m happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador who had nothing to do with Benghazi? And was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received? And to besmirch her reputation is outrageous. And, you know, we’re after an election now,” Obama said at the Wednesday news conference.
He added: “Should I choose, if I think that [Rice] would be the best person to serve America in the capacity at the State Department, then I will nominate her. That’s not a determination that I’ve made yet.”
Clinton has not formally announced when she is leaving her post, although Rice has often been named as a leading candidate. Besides Rice, Obama is said to be considering Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) as Clinton’s successor at State.
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