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Romney knocks selection of Rice as national security adviser

"I find that a disappointing appointment on the part of the president. I think what she did was to very seriously mislead the American people about what happened in Benghazi," Romney told CNN.

"My greatest concern about the Benghazi events was the fact there was not a rescue effort attempted and that is very troubling to me."Republicans have criticized Rice over her comments following the terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, when she suggested in a series of television appearances that the violence had grown spontaneously out of protests over an anti-Islam video.

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The White House later acknowledged that the incident was a planned terror attack and said Rice’s comments were based on early intelligence assessments. But Republicans, including Romney, questioned whether administration officials sought to downplay terrorism ahead of the November 2012 elections.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday he was "not at all" concerned her appointment would further fuel the Benghazi controversy. Carney added there had been "ample demonstration" that Rice's controversial comments were based on erroneous intelligence assessments and that it would be "irresponsible" to suggest otherwise.

Romney's comments come ahead of a Utah political conference organized by the former candidate intended to usher in his return to public life since his loss in November.