I’ve always thought that Sen. John McCain has a mean streak to him, proven time and again by his intemperate outbursts, and that Sen. Lindsey Graham is his wimpy little me-too sycophantic sidekick. They’re proving it again by their incomprehensible attack on U.N. ambassador Susan Rice over the attack on Benghazi and her response to it.
President Obama is having none of it, and he’s letting us know it.
Bristling with evident indignation during a news conference, Obama said Rice has “done exemplary work” with “skill, professionalism and toughness and grace.”
He then made a pointedly and almost personal challenge to Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) who earlier Wednesday said Rice is unqualified to lead the State Department because she appeared either misinformed or ill-prepared to discuss the attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, on national political talk shows a few days after the attack.
“If Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham and others want to go after somebody they should go after me,” Obama said. “For them to go after the UN ambassador who had nothing to do with Benghazi…to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.”
Ironically, as Crooks and Liars reminds us, the last time there was a person named Rice up for Senate consideration, Mr. McCain and Mr. Graham were all over defending her from unwarranted attacks on her character.
Just for some memory refreshes, here is McCain and Graham’s vigorous defense of Condoleeza Rice and her false claim that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
But in 2005, Graham was fiercely protective of Rice as she faced confirmation to take over the State Department, chaffing at terms used by Democratic lawmakers to describe her testimony.
“The words like ‘misleading’ and ‘disingenuous,’ I think, were very unfair,” Graham said on Fox News.
Asked if then-Sen. Mark Dayton’s use of the word “liar” was justified, Graham pounced.
“Yes, that’s even more unfair. Because it was all in terms of weapons of mass destruction and misleading us about the war and what was in Iraq. Well, every intelligence agency in the world was misled. And to connect those two to say that she’s a liar is very unfair, over the line.”
Before the vote, McCain noted from the Senate floor that the chamber had enough votes to confirm Rice to the job, questioning why Democrats wanted to debate her nomination.
“So I wonder why we are starting this new Congress with a protracted debate about a foregone conclusion,” he said, adding that Rice is qualified for the job. “I can only conclude that we are doing this for no other reason than because of lingering bitterness over the outcome of the election.”
Yeah, speaking of lingering bitterness….