November 16, 2012

Dozen House women defend Rice over Libya comments

At a Capitol Hill news conference, the female lawmakers, the majority of them African American like Rice, suggested that the Republicans are bitter about Obama's re-election and taking it out on U.N. ambassador.

Donna Cassata/Associated Press

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FILE - This June 7, 2012 file photo shows U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice listening during a news conference at the UN. Republican senators' angry criticism of Rice over her initial account of the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Libya smacks of sexism and racism, a dozen female members of the House said Friday. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)


The female House members argued that Rice would have no motivation to mislead the American people.

At a Wednesday news conference, McCain, Graham and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., had called for a special Watergate-style committee to investigate the Libya attack. McCain and Graham leveled their criticism at Rice, drawing a rebuke from Obama a short time later who said they should go after him, not the U.N. ambassador.

The Democratic women also contrasted McCain and Graham's criticism with their defense of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who had warned of weapons of mass destruction in pressing for war in Iraq that killed more than 4,400 Americans. No weapons of mass destruction were found.

"It's interesting to me that we're not discussing another Rice who went before all of the Sunday talk shows some years ago," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.

The Democratic women demanded that McCain and Graham retract their criticism.

"It is a shame that anytime something goes wrong, they pick on women and minorities," Fudge said.

Said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.: "We will not allow a brilliant public servant's record to be mugged to cut off her consideration to be secretary of state."

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