December 11th, 2012
03:03 PM ET
2 years ago

Lieberman continues to defend Rice amid GOP criticism

(CNN) – Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut parted with two of his close friends in the Senate - Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham - on the question of Susan Rice's role after the Libya consulate attack and whether it could affect a potential cabinet nomination.

"I've been over all of the intelligence that we had before she went on TV that Sunday morning, I went over all of her comments. I don't think she's disqualified based on anything she said that morning," the senator said, reiterating his defense of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

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Lieberman made his comments Tuesday while sitting alongside his two friends in an interview to air on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight." Collectively, the senators are frequently dubbed the "three amigos."

Rice is considered to be on the president's short list to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state during his second term. However, McCain and Graham have led the Republican charge against Rice over her comments in the aftermath of the Benghazi, Libya consulate violence, which resulted in the death of four Americans.

On morning news shows the Sunday after the September 11, 2012 attack, Rice attributed the violence to protests over an anti-Islam film made in the U.S. Later she said she was speaking from unclassified talking points from the intelligence community.

The intelligence community, however, has since said the violence came from a planned terrorist attack, not a spontaneous protest.

While Lieberman has previously called for Congress to have "mercy" on Rice, he said Tuesday that he and his friends "can disagree and still be amigos." But the retiring senator, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said he'll be following the hearings from a distance.

"The rest is up to the future and unfortunately I'll be watching it on TV," he said. Lieberman will be replaced by Senator-elect Chris Murphy, a Democrat.

During the same interview, McCain said Rice "deserved the process that every nominee goes through" but added her initial comments were "wrong."

Watch the full interview on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," starting at 9 p.m. ET

Rice appeared on the Hill last month to answer questions from senators about her remarks. While President Barack Obama has publicly defended her, McCain said he still has doubts about her qualification.

"We're willing to give her the nomination process, but she's got a lot to prove," the Arizona senator said.

McCain also confirmed Tuesday he was seeking a spot on the powerful Senate Foreign Relations committee, which has oversight of the State Department. It would further give McCain a prime position to grill Rice during any nomination hearings.

Asked Tuesday if he wanted the spot, McCain, said: "Oh I think it would be fun to do."

Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.


Filed under: Joe Lieberman • John McCain • Lindsey Graham • TV-Piers Morgan
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I hope McCain does get to grill Susan Rice, he's going to end up making the biggest fool of himself and anyone else that joins him. McCain is "shadow boxing" and playing with the "marbles" he's lost, he's become a total waste of media time.

    December 11, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Woman In California

    Asked Tuesday if he wanted the spot, McCain, said: "Oh I think it would be fun to do."

    Fun? This is the word he chose when talking about a position with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee? The man is NUTS and someone needs to take him off the Floor and into care where he can be watched, so that he doesn't continue hurting the American people or himself starting TODAY.

    December 11, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. Big D.

    Why is McCain even given so much clout? He's a failed pilot, was captured by the enemy, the only legislation he's ever lead on as been a failure and he failed at the presidency.

    He's been a total failure in life. Why is anything he says important at all?

    December 11, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. Guest

    Evidently...the best aspect of being a liberal and democrat is simply affording yourself the option of ignoring the facts!

    December 11, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. A Sneeky Drone

    McCain still hold the record for most crashed jets in the USAF, lets grill him on the millions he cost the American taxpayer for HIS ineptitude

    December 11, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. Chester D

    This is going to be fun to watch, McCain is going to make himself look like a fool when he starts to drill in to Susan Rice. If you are still upset with Obama then you need to go after him. We have so many other problems that we need to deal with and these three fools are making the talk shows. WE do not care at all. If this was a sore point why did you not making the meeting. He and the other two all they are doing is hurting the American people

    December 11, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Asked Tuesday if he wanted the spot, McCain, said: "Oh I think it would be fun to do."

    McCain sure knows how to enjoy life , I'm sure he would say the same thing about an enema !

    December 11, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. g

    the three stooges –thy should all retire in the name of the country, cleaning up thirty years of the mess they helped create is going to take another 10 yrs

    December 11, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. Let's Move Forward

    Senator McCain is bitter and vindictive because he lost the election in 2008. What a shame to live the rest of his life filled with bitternes. Young people will not remember him as a war hero but as a bitter angry old man. His personal vendetta against President Obama does not help the state of Arizona or our country.

    December 11, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  10. PaulCat

    Megan McCain take notes from the Trump kids before it's too late.

    December 11, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. James Bond

    What fools, you republican backers who have no money, they willcut you up quick. RTW states, all low wage earning states all hail money,

    December 11, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. judy

    republicans are really making asses of themselves and the American people are getting tired of listening to them. They lost the election and once again will spend the next four years destroying the American economy. Vote them out mid term. They call themselves patriots. Patriots of what??? They act like small children and I would not trust them to take care of my dog let alone the economy. They can't seem to come together with their own party. And I feel sorry for any repo that does not go along with them . They make their life a living hell .

    December 11, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. Facts don't Lie

    @ Guest....

    speaking of ignoring facts......I think the right wing Republicans have that market cornered. Actually when you approach one with facts they tend to curl up in a fetal position. Besides if facts were so much important to the right then FoxNEws would no longer get the ratings they do.

    December 11, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  14. James Bond

    Before anyone has the right to ask her one question about benghazi, make george and dick answer questions about iraq, thousands dead, and dying everyday, but lets worry about 4 men, not 4000+. nothing about your party makes sense anymore,better vote them out while you still can, or you will all serve the rich, and be @ their mercy, no fkin thanks

    December 11, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. Expat American

    McCain is too cowardly to take on the President; so he goes after Susan Rice with Graham cheering him on. It's going to end badly for McCain – just like his laughable campaign for President.

    December 11, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  16. Rick McDaniel

    Rice is indefensible........bottom line.

    December 11, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. anonymous

    wow – what a pic ! so there is lieberman / graham / & mcain – huh. . . sounds like the only adult in the room is lieberman.

    December 11, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. Rick McDoomsday

    this guy is a tratior to his "friends" McCain and Graham. Rice is part iof the plot for Obama's dictatorship and McCain is doing all he can to try and stop it. Why can't you people see this? He plans to take the power from the wealthy where it belongs and pass it down to the middle and lower classes.

    December 11, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. upyours

    RICE is not fit to be the AMBASSADOR! SHE'S A LIAR & THE FEDERAL RESERVE ARE CROOKS TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THAT IS WHO HER FATHER WORKED FOR

    December 11, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. John

    Rice told her version of the truth, based on the information she had......to focus on her motives is a waste of time, but obviously important to the GOP..........they look foolish, not for questioning Rice, but for dragging it out after she testified...

    December 11, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. Freeman

    It started out as a political move. McCain and Graham thought they could make the President look weak on foreign policy. And, of course make him un-electable. The President was re-elected. So they had to continue thier vendetta to save face and get their revenge. Listen to them speak. They come across as two very very bitter old men. McCain is probably telling himself every day 'That could have been me in the White House.'

    December 11, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    IF pubs want to continue following McCain's lead, it's all for the better.
    They can click their little red heels, close their eyes, and mumble in eternal togetherness
    "there's no place like Benghazi; there's no place like Benghazi; there's no place like Benghazi".
    Who knows. Maybe a political-bombshell WILL fall their way.
    Or maybe they'll simply end up looking like the political hacks they are.

    December 11, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. Hu-boy...

    'take the power from the wealthy, where it belongs', that had better be a joke @rickmcdoomsday, or you'd better be wealthy. The 'power' should not be with a small minority of the population, rather the majority. The wealthy have been taking advantage of the government and the common person since before the revolution.
    Anyone who believes that 'right to work' is a good thing, or that tax breaks for the 'job creators' equal more jobs deserves their voucher for the company store, which of course never covers the cost of the items so you have to keep working to pay off the company.
    Furthermore, Susan Rice did what any other high ranking official would do when handed a script and put in front of a camera, read tue script. I highly doubt that she did any self editing beforehand, when the intelligence sector has confirmed they wrote the talking points.
    Conspiracy theories are getting about as old as bootlicking corporate 'uncle tom's' whining about their master's finally being taken down a peg or two, lately.
    So in closing, let the process continue as it should, she will eventually be confirmed as Secretary of State, even after their tax rate gets jacked up the rich will still control the country and maybe some of us will be able to pay our bills and still save a couple dollars a month. Otherwise can the conspiracy crap.

    December 11, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  24. Facts don't Lie

    @ Rick McDaniel

    you're half way right that Rice in indefensible the only thing is that it was CONDI Rice not the current one. Nice try though.

    December 11, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  25. Leah DiMarco

    How come Senator Kelly Ayotte wasn't invited. She is supposed to be the 'new amigo' now that Lieberman won't be in The Senate next year. She has been the one that McCain has been pushing out in front of the cameras the past few weeks – now it looks like he has pushed her to the curb.
    LOL.

    December 11, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
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