Retiring Sen. Kent Conrad wants Republicans to quit whining about Susan Rice. They’re just bitter that Obama won another four years in office, he says.
The North Dakota Democrat told Hardball’s Chris Matthews on Thursday that Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has been “caught in the crossfire… in a completely unfair way.”
“I think it’s people who are embittered by the re-election of the president,” he added.
Rice–who is being considered for secretary of state–has been taking heat from Republicans over her remarks following the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. She has been meeting with lawmakers seeking clarification this week on Capitol Hill.
Rice said that the attack was in response to an anti-Muslim video made in the U.S., rather than a pre-planned act of terrorism. That turned out to be false, although Rice and President Obama insist that she was simply offering the public the best information she had at the time.
Conrad agreed, arguing Rice simply was going with the talking points that were given to her by the intelligence community.
Tennessee GOP Sen. Bob Corker–who met with Rice on Wednesday–questioned her credibility for the secretary of state post on Hardball, going so far as to say that Rice seemed to be “a political operative.” He added there have been concerns that Rice was acting “in the height of a political campaign and it really did appear that she was very anxious to make it appear that things were a little different in the Middle East than they are.
And while Corker insisted he’d give Rice a full hearing if she’s nominated for secretary of state, “In all the conversations I had with her, you always feel [she’s] sort of pushing a political point of view.”