U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice flopped yesterday when the secretary of state hopeful tried to explain (or maybe tried not to explain) away her misleading narrative of what happened in Benghazi.
Republican Senators Say Rice Meeting Just Leaves More Questions Unanswered
Rice met with Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte, all of whom said they were more disturbed by the ambassador’s role in the Benghazi mess than before the meeting. They say she hasn’t answered the “most basic” questions.
The shifting story of how Rice came to deliver a phony story indicates that somebody high up is unwilling to simply tell the truth. That Rice’s supporters are falling back on the racism/sexism charge for those who challenge her shows that there is no other way to defend her. If they had a better story, they'd be telling it.
Democrats, no surprise, are largely rallying in support of Ambassador Rice. But liberal columnist Thomas Schaller writes this:
Ms. Rice can and should explain, under oath, the circumstances of her summoning. Whether or not one believes top officials in the Obama administration and campaign conspired to create and then peddle an intentionally false cover-up story about the Benghazi attacks, the White House's response and Ms. Rice's misinformed (at best) or misleading (at worst) comments on the Sunday television networks are sufficient to warrant detailed, specific answers.
Was Ambassador Rice willing to go on TV and knowingly peddle a false story because the president was up for reelection? This bit on Rice's response to genocide in Rwanda is cause for concern:
In a quote for a 2002 book written by Samantha Power, Ms. Rice stated, in her attempted defense of the Clinton Administration’s inaction in response to the genocide that was taking place in the tiny African Nation of Rwanda in 1994, “If we use the word 'genocide' and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November congressional election?"
It was later revealed that President Clinton, along with Madeline Albright, Anthony Lake, Warren Christopher, and Ms. Rice were all part of a coordinated effort not only to block U.N. action to stop the genocide, but to work behind the scenes to craft public opinion on the issue by removing words such as "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" from official State Department and CIA memos.
The real question about Benghazi was what the president was doing that night. Did he issue orders? Did the man who had an important fundraiser in Las Vegas go to bed before the issue on the ground in Benghazi was resolved? This was also Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 3 am call and we know far too little about what decisions she did or didn’t make.
Just as a matter of honor, Republicans must get all this on the record. It may not make any difference in the practical sphere. Democrats likely have the votes to confirm Rice as secretary of state, if she is the president’s choice. But we still deserve to know the truth about a terrorist attack that took the lives of four Americans and may have been hidden for political expediency.