Lieberman urges 'mercy' for Susan Rice

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Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on Thursday said Susan Rice's inaccurate description of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, should not disqualify her from becoming secretary of State. 

A number of Senate Republicans have suggested that Rice’s statements in September following the assault might disqualify her for the job as the nation’s top diplomat, should President Obama choose to nominate her.

Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is one of the most likely candidates to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Obama’s second term.

But Rice’s path to confirmation could be rocky, because many in the GOP remain frustrated with the Obama administration’s early description of the Libya attack as a protest spun out of control — an explanation that Rice delivered in a series of television interviews the weekend after the attack.

Lieberman said he does not agree with Republicans critics of Rice — a group that includes his close friends Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) — and said Congress should have a “sense of mercy” toward her.

“I've been over the intelligence, the talking points that were given to Ambassador Rice,” Lieberman said. “I've read over her statements over her statements on Sunday morning, I've met with her and the acting director of the CIA, and it seems to me that everything she said on those many appearances that Sunday morning were within the talking points that she had been given by the intelligence community.”

"She said basically what the intelligence community told her was the truth as they tentatively understood it on the day she went on national television," Lieberman said.

Earlier Thursday, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said that Rice's response to the attack makes her ineligible to be secretary of State.