Player of the week: Ambassador Susan Rice

President Obama is considering appointing Susan Rice to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of State, but nominating her would spark controversy.

GOP lawmakers have criticized Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, for her five Sunday show appearances in September. At the time, Rice said the attacks in Libya that killed four Americans were “spontaneous” and mentioned an anti-Islam video as part of the reason for the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. She has since said she was simply relaying intelligence that was given to her.

ADVERTISEMENT
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have warned the White House not to nominate Rice. Some Republicans have gone so far as to endorse Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to replace Clinton.

Earlier this month, McCain said, “I will do everything in my power to block her from being the United States secretary of State. She has proven that she either doesn’t understand or she is not willing to accept evidence on its face.”

Obama subsequently defended Rice, calling McCain and Graham’s criticism outrageous.

On Sunday, McCain softened his stance considerably. In an interview on Fox News, the Arizona Republican indicated she could attract his support.

“I think she deserves the ability and the opportunity to explain herself and her position … she’s not the problem. The problem is the president of the United States,” McCain said.

Rice last week shrewdly said she is willing to meet with McCain and answer his questions: “Some of the statements he’s made about me have been unfounded, but I look forward to having the opportunity at the appropriate time to discuss all of this with him.”

And, indeed, The Hill reported Monday that Rice will be at the Capitol  this week meeting with senators from both parties.

A Rice nomination would trigger complaints from the GOP, but the ambassador is working diligently to make sure they won’t be as loud as previously anticipated.