News / USA

    Obama, Senate Republicans Spar Over UN Ambassador

    U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice speaks (2012 file photo)U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice speaks (2012 file photo)
    x
    U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice speaks (2012 file photo)
    U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice speaks (2012 file photo)
    Michael Bowman
    A rift has emerged between U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican lawmakers in Congress over America’s United Nations ambassador, Susan Rice.

    On Wednesday, Obama defended Rice from Republican allegations that she misled the nation about the deadly September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The ambassador is said to be a possible candidate to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.

    At a news conference Wednesday, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham called for a special committee to investigate the Benghazi attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. They also had strong words about any possible nomination of Susan Rice to a new post in the Obama administration.

    “We will do whatever is necessary to block the nomination that is within our power, as far as Susan Rice is concerned,” McCain said.

    McCain and other lawmakers sharply criticized Rice for statements she made on several U.S. television programs after the Benghazi attack. This is what she said on September 16 on ABC television's "This Week" program:

    “Our current best assessment, based on the information we have at present, is that, in fact, this began as a spontaneous, not a premeditated, response to what had transpired in Cairo,” Rice said.

    Rice noted that demonstrations had erupted in Egypt and elsewhere because of an Internet video that insulted Islam, and said that the violence in Benghazi also flowed from the video.

    President Obama later said that the attack was a planned terrorist act.

    Republican Senator Lindsey Graham had this to say about Susan Rice: “I do not trust her. And the reason I do not trust her is because I think she knew better. And if she did not know better, she should not be the voice of America. I do not think she deserves to be promoted,” Graham said.

    At a news conference later Wednesday, President Obama defended Rice, calling the senators’ criticism “outrageous.”

    “She [i.e., Rice] gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her.  If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me.  And I am happy to have that discussion with them,” Obama said.

    Obama said he has made no decisions about Cabinet posts for his second term, but that he would have no reservations about nominating Susan Rice.

    “She has done exemplary work.  She has represented the United States and our interests in the United Nations with skill and professionalism and toughness and grace,” Obama said.

    Obama’s words provoked a terse response from Senator Graham.  In a statement, he said, “Mr. President, do not think for one minute I don’t hold you ultimately responsible for Benghazi.  I think you failed as Commander in Chief before, during, and after the attack.”

    The Benghazi attack occurred eight weeks before the U.S. general elections, and it was addressed during two debates between President Obama and his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Some analysts have questioned whether the Obama administration initially downplayed the true nature of the Benghazi attack to shield the president from political fallout. Obama denies the allegations.

    On Wednesday, the president promised consequences for the attack.

    “I don’t think there is any debate in this country that when you have four Americans killed, that is a problem.  And we have got to get to the bottom of it and there needs to be accountability.  We have got to bring those who carried it out to justice,” Obama said.

    Several committees in the House of Representatives and the Senate are investigating the Benghazi attack.  A special select committee would have access to the witnesses, materials and findings of all of the other committees, yielding, according to Republicans, a more thorough and comprehensive report. 

    Special committees have been authorized in the past to probe incidents such as the Watergate scandal that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation and the Iran-Contra affair that shook the administration of President Ronald Reagan.

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Spanish Warrants Point to Russian Govt. Links to Organized Crime

    Links to several Russians, some of them reputedly close Putin associates, backed by ‘very strong evidence,’ Spanish judge says

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    Iraq needs stable, central government to push back against Islamic State, US says, but others warn that Baghdad may not have unified front any time soon

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Daniel Phelan from: CA
    November 14, 2012 8:21 PM
    Really Republicans? This is all you can come up with? The exploitation of the deaths of honorable men; men of country? Are you people plain evil? Have you no shame?

    This was a terrible violent act by terrorist. They are to blame.

    What are you saying Republicans? That we should invade Iraq? 4000 dead American soldiers among countless others!!?? Oppps! Wrong enemy!!

    Are you saying that Republicans and GW Bush are responsible for letting 9/11 happen? What about the 12 attacks on US embassies that happened under GW? Opps!

    Republicans of today are just hacks with no hearts and puny minds.

    I’m afraid this is just another example of the fossilized right-wing status quo: Create a grotesquely distorted caricature, broadcast the delusion at the top of your lungs, and hope that you manage to reinforce just enough cynicism and hopelessness to ensure the election of someone who truly cares only for funneling all of the country's wealth and power into the hands of a tiny, corrupt elite.

    Republicans are garbage leaders.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora