Biden praises Susan Rice: She ‘is speaking for the president’

Susan Rice (AFP Photo) Susan Rice (AFP Photo)

The night before a House committee hearing on the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on a U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Vice President Biden praised Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador who has been under fire for her role in the administration's response to the incident.

Rice has “the absolute, total, complete confidence of the president,” Biden said at a gala for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, according to press reports. “When she speaks… no one wonders whether or not she is speaking for the president.”

Republican lawmakers criticized Rice in the wake of the deadly attack in Libya for saying on Sunday morning news shows that the assault appeared to be a spontaneous protest over an anti-Muslim video. She withdrew her name from consideration as secretary of state soon thereafter.

Three State Department officials are scheduled to testify about the attack and its aftermath before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday. Republicans have turned their attention to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who emerged largely unscathed when she testified before Congress in January.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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Rachel Weiner · May 8, 2013