Benghazi attack: ‘Terrorists’ or ‘extremists’?
Congressional Republicans are digging into what the Obama administration knew about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four American officials. The focus on UN Ambassador Susan Rice – a possible Secretary of State – has become very political.
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In retrospect, some officials have said, “opportunistically” would have been a better word than “spontaneously.”Skip to next paragraph
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The White House denies making any changes to the talking points.
"We were provided with points by the intelligence community that represented their assessment," deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Saturday aboard Air Force One taking President Obama to the East Asia Summit. "The only edit made by the White House was the factual edit about how to refer to the facility.”
In any case, the issue is unlikely to fade.
Sen. John McCain – along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, he’s pushed hardest against Rice – wants to create a special Watergate-type committee to continue the investigation of how the Obama administration has handled Benghazi. Presumably, Sen. McCain would be this committee’s senior Republican – important to him, perhaps, because Senate term limit rules prevent him from continuing to hold a similar position on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Although Obama has strongly defended Susan Rice, her position in his second term remains unclear.
“Even in a town that rewards sharp elbows and brusque personalities, Rice has managed to make an impressive array of enemies – on Capitol Hill, in Foggy Bottom, and abroad,” writes Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank. “Particularly in comparison with the other person often mentioned for the job, Sen. John Kerry, she can be a most undiplomatic diplomat, and there likely aren’t enough Republican or Democratic votes in the Senate to confirm her.”
Democrats in Congress – particularly women lawmakers – are standing up for Rice.
A group of women in the House suggested Friday that the Republican attack on Rice smacks of sexism and racism, the Associated Press reports.
The Democratic women directed particular ire against McCain, who said Rice was "not being very bright" in her comments, according to the AP. The women pointed out that Rice was a Rhodes Scholar who graduated tops in her Stanford University class whereas McCain was in the bottom of his class at the US Naval Academy.
IN PICTURES: Libya's critical transition