Dems: Susan Rice an ‘American treasure’

Five Democratic women in the House on Thursday blasted Republican attacks on U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, whom they said is an "American treasure.”

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has become a lightning rod since her statements falsely linking the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, to a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam film. 

President Obama chastised Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) for their criticism of Rice during his press conference Wednesday, calling their criticism “outrageous.” House Democrats echoed that line on Thursday.

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“Over the last several days, Senators McCain, Graham, and [Kelly] Ayotte (R-N.H.) have gone to extraordinary lengths to level unfair attacks against a stalwart American whose public service spans two administrations,” Reps. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said in a statement Thursday.

“We call on Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte to immediately retract their troubling remarks and shift focus to the important and critical security concerns of our diplomats abroad.”

The lawmakers highlighted Rice's educational and professional background, including her 2000 Samuel Nelson Drew Memorial Award. They've scheduled a press conference for Friday morning.

Rice is rumored to be in the running to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of State, but she could face an uphill battle to win confirmation in the Senate.