Senate Republicans praise Victoria Nuland

If Victoria Nuland is going to take heat from Republicans in her confirmation hearing, it won't come from the party's traditional leaders on national security.

President Obama plans to nominate Victoria Nuland as assistant secretary of state for Europe. In a statement Friday, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) praised the pick and did not mention Nuland's role in crafting talking points after the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack. 

“Ambassador Victoria Nuland has a long and distinguished record of service to our nation in both Republican and Democrat[ic] Administrations," the senators said. During President George W. Bush's tenure Nuland was a foreign policy aide to Vice President Dick Cheney and an ambassador to NATO.

"She is knowledgeable and well-versed on the major foreign policy issues, as well as respected by foreign policy experts in both parties," McCain and Graham said. "We look forward to her upcoming confirmation hearings in the United States Senate.”

E-mails released last week by the administration show that the former State Department spokeswoman objected to identifying a known terrorist group as the likely perpetrator of the Benghazi attack and to revealing previous warnings about possible threats. Republicans have argued that the administration wanted to downplay any link to terrorism for political reasons. Nuland's nomination could face pushback from some members of the GOP for that reason. So far, however, the party is not united against her as it was against United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, when Rice's name was being floated as a possible nominee for secretary of state.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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