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

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Kurdish service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs