November 26th, 2012
06:08 PM ET
9 years ago

Ambassador Rice to meet with lawmakers on Libya

Washington (CNN) - After facing criticism from Republican lawmakers surrounding her characterization of the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice will hold meetings on Capitol Hill about Libya, an administration official said Monday.

Rice will meet with Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire on Tuesday morning, Ayotte told CNN. She said Rice's staff contacted her office about setting up the meeting.

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As to what she expects out of the meeting, Ayotte said, "I think a big part of it will be about her representations of what happened at Benghazi."

Acting CIA director Mike Morrell will attend meetings later this week, a source said.

McCain, Graham, and Ayotte led the criticism of Rice after her television appearances days after the September attack, which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. They and other Republicans said they would block the nomination of Rice, should she be advanced by President Barack Obama to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has said she will leave her post when a replacement is ready to be installed.

Later in the week, Rice will meet with Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the top Republican on the homeland security committee, which is investigating the Benghazi attack. Collins has not been as critical of Rice as McCain, Graham and Ayotte but has said Rice needs to explain what happened.

This weekend, McCain expressed more openness to her potentially filling that post, saying he would "give everyone the benefit of explaining their position and the actions that they took. I'd be glad to have the opportunity to discuss these issues with her."

Rice has not been offered the position but is suspected to top the list of possible successors. At a press conference after his re-election, Obama called McCain and Graham's criticism of Rice "outrageous," adding that if they "and others want to go after someone they should go after me."

The ambassador said she was using de-classified talking points that did not reference the attack as a pre-meditated terror attack, and the spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence later said those talking points were prepared by the intelligence community, and not modified by other governmental agencies.

"When discussing the attacks on our facilities in Benghazi, I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community. I made clear that the information was preliminary," Rice told reporters last Wednesday.

McCain charged on the floor of the U.S. Senate hours before Obama's post-election press conference that "this president and this administration has either been guilty of colossal incompetence or engaged in a cover up, neither of which are acceptable to the American people."

Republicans have questioned why the administration used Rice as their spokeswoman, rather than an official more closely involved with the investigation, as well as why the U.S. timeline included a protest surrounding a controversial anti-Islam web video, which now appears to have not been a factor.

On Monday, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, a GOP member of the Foreign Relations Committee who recently said Rice was "not fitting" to be Secretary of State in part because of comments on the attack, appeared to shift his views about Rice.

Inhofe said Rice may have been "thrown under the bus" because she wasn't given the full details of what happened before going on television.

"I assumed she had full knowledge of everything that went on," Inhofe said about his initial criticism of Rice. "I'm not at all convinced of that now. I think she very well could have been thrown under the bus."

Inhofe said Monday he has had no request to meet with Rice at this point but that he would be glad to meet with her.

- CNN's Gregory Wallace contributed to this report

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Filed under: John McCain • Libya • Susan Rice
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. just sayin

    no private meetings. what she has to say can be done in public hearings under oath for all to hear. enough of her lies and the lies of the obama administration.

    November 26, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. CommonSense

    And someone please tell John McCain to step down right into retirement! He's turning into a bitter old man...

    November 26, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. California Gary

    Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall when Rice meets with McCain? That could turn out to be quite a meeting. Rice will be spending most of her time in there trying to help McCain remove his foot from his mouth, and his head from the orifice it is currently stuck in. That could take's in there real deep.

    November 26, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  4. Nancy

    The white house sent the person out there who did not know anything so I do not think Rice lied. They did not want to endanger Hillary with their fabrications so they did what the Chicago mob always does and sent out an unknowing sheep to propogate the Islamic video idiocy. I am so disgusted with Obama I do not know how anyone could be any more than cynical. Personally I will call my senators to vote against Rice if Obama chooses to nominate this puppet.

    November 26, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Rice should follow Obama's lead and just tell McCain "John, the campaign was over for you in 2008, you lost". It's hard to respect a man like McCain when he shows no respect for anyone else because in his mind he thinks just because he was a prisoner of war everyone should respect him. Not so, he's on his way out, why should anyone waste anymore time with McCain, he's a bitter old angry senile man, stop appeasing him.

    November 26, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Why on earch should Rice meet with McCain et all? She owes them no explanation and she shouldn't dignify their insults by discussing anything with them. This move by Rice makes me think Kerry would be a better pick for State. I can't see him having such a meeting to explain himself.

    November 26, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  7. Crp

    I'd like to be a fly on the wall during that meeting. Sen. McCain has embarrassed himself and his party and made statements that rehash his thoughts over the last twenty years. Unfortunately, he repeats himself and only changes the names not his ideas. Did not work then and will not work now.

    November 26, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. Hotdog

    She is going to be very diplomatic about her position and put McCain and Linsey Graham in their place. Both of them are nothing but hot air and IMO have lost their credibility. Who does Linsey Graham think he is to get on national television and say that he does not trust some such as Susan Rice. If you heard it I need not tell you what he sounded like!

    November 26, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. tony

    Mccain and graham should have reserved criticism of amb rice until a full and proper investigation and after meeting with her..but instead these two ole men attacked her credibility and character...and we call these people leaders.....shameful and unthoughtful...

    November 26, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  10. judy

    good for her maybe this will shut the repo idiots up. Tired of their making a political show of the whole thing.

    November 26, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  11. Dick Smegma

    Two months and 8 versions.
    Watergate with dead bodies.
    Horrific disgrace.

    November 26, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  12. John the Historian

    Republicans will never accept anything from President Obama. They will always she him as illegitimate. They just don't know the 1950s are over. They should ask Willard Romney if his cult mormon followers ccan find those square boats some Israeli tribe used to cross the Atlantic so Rice can sail from America back to the Middle East.

    November 26, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  13. Gregory M. Newbold

    Susan Rice is far superior as Secretary of State material as compared to Sarah Palin as Vice Presidential material. For John McCain to label Dr. Rice as unqualified, incompetent and "not bright", particularly when the public knows McCain finished academically near the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy, is ludicrous. Mr. MCCain has reached the point where he is a shadow of his former self. He should stop his histonics; he should stop emmbarassing himself & his family. Yes, he was a POW 40 years ago but that does not qualifiy him to be a senator [and certainly not a President today]

    Mr. McCain [and Lindsey Grham & Kelly Ayotte] I recommend you rethink your unwarranted and un principled attacks on this woman. The time for you to change your tone and apologize is now. You can try to spin it if you want, but her stellar credentials and integrity will carry the day.

    November 26, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  14. bassman

    When VP Cheney misstated intelligence reports on Iran's weapons of mass descructions, he was labeled Darth Vader. When Susan Rice does the same, she gets a pass from our media. And covered up until after the election.

    November 26, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  15. Darrell

    Daniel is going into the lions' den to face the toothless lions of the GOP. Amb. Rice has more character, integrity than was displayed by these three GOP fools over the past two weeks. And, Sen. Inhofe, the person who believes climate change is a hoax, is wrong: Amb. is worthy to serve as the next Sec. of State.

    November 26, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  16. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Inhofe is one to deny the truth. He doesn't understand the science about climate change. How is he to understand foreign policy?

    November 26, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  17. Marksmanship

    I voted for Obama because he was the better choice of two evils. I am not impressed with Obama. I think he is a crook in every sense of the word. I sure hope he likes reading Bob Woodward. Susan Rice meetings are part of start of Obama's deserved disgraceful end.

    November 26, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  18. LegalizeReason

    When are the hearings to start where the other RIce Condaleeza), George Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of the gang can explain the characterization of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction and how they caused almost 4,500 Americans to get killed and 32,000 wounded, as well as tens of thousands of Iraqis.

    November 26, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  19. Sandy

    They will have to dumb down the questions...or at least help her w/talking points.

    November 26, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  20. DENNA

    The Republicans are still at it. Why don't you stop with internal warfare and get something done? If I am not mistaken, the question of what Ms. Susan Rice said and where the information came from has been asked and answered several times. Funny, when Condi Rice said that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, no one doubted her for a minute. She was just parroting what W told her. I guess it's okay for a GOP mouthpiece to be utterly wrong, right?

    November 26, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  21. Larry L

    McCain needs to get a job. His anger and disappointment at not getting elected POTUS is eating him alive. Petty little attacks designed to discredit the President only diminish McCain's already eroded stature. Does he really want his legacy to be that of a bitter, angry, irrelevant loser?

    November 26, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  22. hazen

    So now, how many weeks after the election we are going to acknowledge what others did almost immediately, that the silly video had nothing to do with the terrorist attack on the Libyan embassy? I will make the bold prediction that some time in the probably distant future we will read, near the bottom of some story that it now appears that the talking points provided by the intelligence community were scrubbed of any references to terrorists by the white house. But not anytime soon.

    November 26, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  23. Thomas

    I hope Sens. John McCain of Arizona dosn't forget .
    Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire

    Larry , Curly and Moe .

    November 26, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    Ambassador Rice: “When discussing the attacks against our facilities in Benghazi, I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community. I made clear that the information was preliminary and that our investigations would give us the definitive answers."

    Petraeus testified that the names of militant groups Ansar al-Shariah and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb were replaced with the word “extremists” in the final draft of the information given to Ambassador Rice (although he does not know who made the change).

    Repubs are trying to create a problem where there isn't one, as yet another distraction from doing their jobs. They would rather waste the taxpayers' money trying to tear down President Obama than get to work and have to accept the FACT that the only way to avoid the fiscal cliff is for the wealthy to start paying their fair share.

    That's what this all boils down to: The GOP protecting their rich benefactors at the expense of our nation and her people.

    November 26, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  25. lizzytalorburton

    I hope McCain tells Rice and the admnistration thugs and PRESIDENT to stop calling him names when he meets with her. The democrats have found that the campaign trick of "racism" worked on the illiterates, and have decided to use it full-time. McCain the Repub coward instead of backing down, should confront her with the lies and deceit and demand it be stopped or face a court case involving defamation! The matter of phony racism aimed at Republicans is almost as important as the murders, coverup and lies in Bengazi. No one in government should be allowed to make public phony charges of racism without any evidence!!! No one in their right mind should back down from name calling and insults which are not true. The democrats have become the party of racism!

    November 27, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
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