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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs