The Washington Post

Was Susan Rice set up?

Susan Rice on CBS’s "Face the Nation" after the Benghazi attack. (Chris Usher/CBS News via Getty Images)

Everyone has known for at least a year that Clinton intends to leave her job. And, if President Obama wins reelection, there would be a fierce contest within his administration to be nominated to take her place. 

D.C. insiders will recall that Rice was a core adviser to Obama during the cantankerous 2008 Democratic primary campaign. Eleanor Clift noted in a January Daily Beast profile on Rice that “lingering tensions” from the campaign still exist between Rice and Clinton.

Rice was sent out in the days after the Benghazi, Libya, attacks to explain the administration’s view of the crisis. Clearly almost everything she said was untrue. The subsequent revelations and the evolving stories are wildly different than what she earnestly offered on a full set of Sunday shows in the immediate aftermath of the crisis. Republicans believe Americans have been misled by Obama’s forces, starting with Ms. Rice's now-infamous Sunday-morning appearances. Did she volunteer for the Sunday show assignment, or was she “encouraged” to take the poison?

Were the attacks in Benghazi followed by an attempt to kill Rice’s political career? Or did her ambition compel her to advance a faulty narrative of events in keeping with the administration's apologist foreign policy?  

Either way, it is safe to say that her participation in launching the misdirection that is the administration's Benghazi explanation will prevent Susan Rice from receiving Senate confirmation for any new job — much less that of Secretary of State. We may never know if her grasp for the spotlight was part of an audition gone bad or if she was sent out by her enemies to take the flak they knew was coming.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.


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