97 House Republicans urge Obama not to nominate Susan Rice for secretary of state

November 19, 2012

Nearly 100 House Republicans signed a letter to President Obama that communicates strong opposition to the possibility of United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice becoming the next secretary of state.

“Though Ambassador Rice has been our representative to the U.N., we believe her misleading statements over the days and weeks following the attack on our embassy in Libya that led to the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world," the Republicans wrote in the letter, which was organized by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.). 

Rice has come under criticism from Republicans for her initial assessment that the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi was a spontaneous assault. The administration later said it was a pre-planned attack.

As a matter of procedure, the Senate votes to confirm cabinet secretaries; the House does not.

Obama defended Rice at a news conference last week, and offered a stern rebuke to the criticism two Senate Republicans had dished out. 

“If Senator [John] McCain and Senator [Lindsey] Graham, and others want to go after somebody? They should go after me. And I’m happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador who had nothing to do with Benghazi? And was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received? And to besmirch her reputation is outrageous. And, you know, we’re after an election now,” Obama said at the Wednesday news conference. 

He added: “Should I choose, if I think that [Rice] would be the best person to serve America in the capacity at the State Department, then I will nominate her. That’s not a determination that I’ve made yet.”

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Sean Sullivan | November 19, 2012