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September 1, 2014

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In wake of Rice stepping aside, Reid blasts ‘shameful’ GOP attacks

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

America’s U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice speaks at the United Nations, Aug. 30, 2012.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks with reporters following a Democratic strategy session at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012.

Sen. Harry Reid weighed in on U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice’s decision to withdraw her name from consideration for secretary of state Thursday with palpable chagrin.

“Ambassador Rice deserved far more respect than she was shown by certain Senate Republicans,” he said in a statement sent to reporters Thursday night. “The politically motivated attacks on her character from some of my Republican colleagues were shameful.”

Reid is referencing a movement, spearheaded by Sen. John McCain of Arizona, among some Republicans to pillory Rice over her role in disseminating the Obama administration’s shifting position on what happened Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya, during an attack that left four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador and a former Navy SEAL from Nevada, dead.

Rice was the Obama representative who went on the airwaves the Sunday after the attack and claimed that it was the tragic result of spontaneous demonstrations by protesters angered by an anti-Muslim video, produced by Christian Egyptians in the U.S., circulating on the Internet. That, the administration later admitted, turned out not to be true.

McCain and others accused Rice of orchestrating or at least participating in a cover-up.

But Rice and CIA officials — including former chief David Petraeus — maintained she was simply working off the talking points she was given.

Nevada Rep. Joe Heck, who sat in on House Intelligence Committee briefings about Benghazi in the immediate aftermath of the attack and again just a few weeks ago, said he didn’t blame Rice for the statements that she made.

“She was given talking points and she delivered them,” he told the Sun at the time. “There’s no blame to be laid for the story changing.”

But in the Senate, it appears, lawmakers weren’t so sure.

Republicans did not all back up McCain, but Republican Senate leadership did appoint him to the Foreign Relations Committee for the next Congress. From that featured position, he would have the ability to, at the very least, stymie and slow her nomination process; and perhaps even persuade enough senators to vote against her to ruin her chances at nomination. The Democrats have a 55-vote majority in the Senate next year, but it takes 60 votes to confirm a presidential nominee — and it is possible for any one senator to block a nomination.

In an op-ed she penned for the Washington Post Thursday explaining her decision, Rice said she did not want to subject the country to that possibility, contending “it would be wrong to allow this debate to continue distracting from urgent national priorities.”

Reid maintained Thursday that Rice “could have been confirmed” by the Senate.

“I believe Ambassador Rice should continue to help steer our nation’s foreign policy, as she has done so successfully, and I look forward to continuing to work with her.”

Rice will stay on as U.N. Ambassador, she said in her op-ed. Her decision has led many to speculate that the Obama administration might now turn to John Kerry, the one-time presidential candidate and longtime Democratic senator from Massachusetts, who has made no secret of his desire to succeed Hillary Clinton in the position.

Should Kerry get the nod, the chances that his colleagues will confirm him without incident are very high. But that would set off a contest for his seat — a seat in Reid’s caucus — for his replacement: Under Massachusetts law, the governor may appoint a temporary replacement, but a special election must be held 145 to 160 days after a seat goes vacant so the people can pick a successor.

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  1. Yes, how dare the rascly republicans do exactly what the dems have been doing for years!! Shame on them!!

  2. How many Democrats would have voted to confirm Colin Powell for Secretary of State? This is the same thing, Powell allowed himself to be used and so did Rice.

    Rice did the right thing by bowing out.

  3. The Tea/Republican Party has now sunk to new lows. All polls show they are more interested in politics. Not the country.

    Perhaps they can say it's a victory, but it comes at an incredible cost.

    Ambassador Rice actually comes out the hero in all this, her reputation stellar and intact. She has done a wonderful job as UN Ambassador, making calm and rational decisions that effect American foreign policy. No matter what the rabid frothing at the mouth righties say, she is a fine upstanding and knowledgeable representative for our Government in world affairs.

    And Ayotte, Graham, Snowe and McCain all end up looking like incompetent bullies and insufferably un-American. Not sure if anyone saw this, but the original attackers were Graham and McCain on Ambassador Rice. But then something happened. The attack did not relent, but it shifted. They included Snow and Ayotte in the equation. Because some ultra-conservative somewhere out there decided it didn't look good for the "angry old white men" that perpetuate and infect the dying Tea/Republican Party be the ones out front. A decision was made that it should be an "equal opportunity" attack. So they brought in the women. It is all apparent. TOTAL fabrication. Not interested in the issue, just the appearance of the attackers. Appearance is everything. Because that's all they got in the Tea/Republican Party predatory fantasy world.

    Another ridiculous and desperate attempt by the Tea/Republican Party to try to stay in some kind of power and command some kind of presence of rationality. But yet again, they came up short and failing abysmally. Leaving the majority of Americans out here scratching our heads at still another instance in a long string of Tea/Republican politicians all stumbling forward and tripping over each other to try to interject their ultra-conservative idiocy on American foreign policy.

    The bottom line is the American people are sick and tired of ginned up crises all the time. Not in just a few things, but EVERYTHING. And Graham, Ayotte, Snowe and McCain just created controversy...where there wasn't any. And they did it purely for partisan politics. They aren't interested in the truth. It's just ATTACK and scream while doing it!

    The Tea/Republican Party plunges deeper in total irrelevance with this. And it will get worse if they keep going the way they're going.

    Or maybe I should say irrelephants.

  4. Yah, Harry is the epitome of CHARM, bi-partisanship, and ethical negotiation. (Sarcasm intended.)

  5. Greedy OLD Party politics as normal. This is a simple move to get Kerry to vacate his seat in the Senate, so the TeaBags can try to reclaim an additional seat in the Senate. This is such a simple move, that even the Rednecks posting here can understand it.

  6. Tea: Have you EVER heard of common courtesy and/or appropriate behavior? Try it out, huh. Seems you could use the practice. It's not about taking anybody down, it's about what's best.