Biden on Susan Rice: She speaks for the president
May 7th, 2013
08:39 PM ET
9 years ago

Biden on Susan Rice: She speaks for the president

Washington (CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden praised U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on the eve of congressional hearings over last year's deadly terror attack against a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya - a controversy in which Rice found herself buried deep only days later.

Describing her as one of the “brightest, most accomplished” people he’s ever met, Biden said he’s never seen a U.S. ambassador to the U.N. “who has more ability to promote the interests of the United States of America.”

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“When she speaks…no one wonders whether or not she is speaking for the president,” the vice president said at a gala for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which honored Rice with an award Tuesday night.

Biden said he had just been with Rice in the Situation Room, saying “there’s a situation,” before cutting himself off. He paused as the crowd laughed, then promised she would attend the dinner on time.

Rice was considered a leading contender for secretary of state during President Barack Obama’s second term, but Republican-led opposition against her potential nomination spurred the ambassador to withdraw her name from consideration in December.

Critics faulted Rice for saying that the Benghazi attack originated from a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam video while she was a guest on Sunday morning talk shows days after the attack. Rice was speaking from declassified talking points.

The Obama administration later said the violence was a planned terrorist attack. The raid left four Americans killed, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.

Biden did not mention the episode Tuesday, but emphasized she has done an “incredible job representing America’s interests.”

The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday with testimony from three "whistle blowers" who say there were security failures at the compound during the attack. Republicans are also still pursuing questions over who changed the talking points, which initially said the attack had links to extremists, before Rice went on the air.

In November, Rice met privately with lawmakers on Capitol Hill about her Sunday news show appearances, though some GOP senators said they left the meeting with more questions than answers.

In mid-December, Rice ultimately decided to take her name out of the running to be Hillary Clinton’s successor as secretary of state.

In a letter to Obama, she said "the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive, and costly - to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities. That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country."

Filed under: Joe Biden • Susan Rice
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Getoverit

    Everyone knows she lied on national TV, but she speaks for the President. Way to go, Joe. Throw your boss under the bus.

    May 7, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  2. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    Don't blame rice because the via screwed up !!!!

    May 7, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  3. Logic

    SO in other words the president agreed with her Sunday talk show talking points just after the Benghazi incident.

    Thanks for clearing that up for us Biden.

    May 7, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  4. Thomas

    I would take Susan Rice over Condoleezza Rice when it comes to intelligence.

    WMD's in Iraq , how many lives lost ?
    Benghazi four lives lost .

    May 7, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  5. Woman In California

    I have nothing against Susan Rice (at least she's a black woman with dignity unlike that sell out Condolezza Rice), but her words got her in all that unfair controversy and instead of learning from that, she kept right on talking. A SOS has to understand diplomacy, execution, and timing in order to be successful and she doesn't seem to posses those qualities. However, I am glad she was considered for the position and I know she'll do well in any future aspirations.

    May 7, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  6. Logic

    JAKE TAPPER: One woman still looking for answers is Pat Smith. Her son, State Department Information Officer Sean Smith was one of the four Americans killed. Pat, thanks so much for being here. I know this is not an easy time. How are you holding up?

    PAT SMITH, MOTHER OF SEAN SMITH, KILLED IN BENGHAZI: Terrible. I cry every night. I don't sleep at night. I need answers.

    TAPPER: What do you want answers to? What do you not know?

    SMITH: Why was there no security for him? When they were supposed to have security and the security that they did have was called back. It just - things do not add up and I'm just told lies.
    This is what this administration is like. Let a mother suffer not only for political reason like it was about the first month but sheer hatred towards anyone that had anything to do with Benghazi.

    May 7, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  7. Catmandew

    Good riddance to Rice. Biden your a goon anyway so shut up go back to DC and do your flipping JOB for once!

    May 7, 2013 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  8. Wes

    A liar speaking for a liar.

    May 7, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  9. king


    Rice might have gotten the initial talking points of Benghazi wrong, but no one can dispute how an effective leader she is on the world stage for the Obama administration. the dems need to take some of the repubs medicine, and forgive those that trespass against us. the Benghazi debacle has nothing to do with her. the message after the fact might have been wrong, like 90 percent of the media initial reporting now a days, but she had no way of stopping or preventing the fact of the Benghazi terrorist act. so as the saying go, "dont kill the messenger".

    May 8, 2013 05:02 am at 5:02 am |
  10. Guest

    She speaks (lies) for the president, no news here, she played a critical role in promoting the cover up for oblabla and hillarious.

    May 8, 2013 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  11. Name lynn

    Joe and susan go an talk for the president an make obama proud.

    May 8, 2013 07:13 am at 7:13 am |