Hardball with Chris Matthews, 11/28/12, 7:00 PM ET

Fighting Rice: what the GOP is saying about Benghazi

Chris Matthews talks with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, about the controversy surrounding Amb. Susan Rice and what happened in Benghazi. Mother Jones’ David...

Sen. Collins: Rice misled public because she had a ‘personal stake’

Updated

When it comes to Benghazi, it’s personal for Susan Rice. Or at least, that’s what Susan Collins thinks.

The Republican senator from Maine spoke to Hardball’s Chris Matthews on Wednesday. She argued Rice –who went on national television shortly after the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya –took the material she was given, shaped it politically and used it to protect the president’s narrative of success in the region.

Rice –who is being considered to be secretary of state –initially said that the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya 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.

So what reason would Rice have to deny terrorism played a central role?

“I believe the administration wanted to portray Libya as an unqualified success story,” said Collins, who met with Rice earlier in the day. “And Ambassador Rice was one of the chief advocates of our involvement in Libya, so arguably had a personal stake in that as–contrary of the administration to say Libya was awash with weapons, that there were training camps for Islamic extremists, particularly near Benghazi.”

Matthews backed Rice, saying the ambassador is “being asked to defend all kinds of stuff that’s really the responsibility of the state department and the CIA to explain right now. It was mainly a CIA operation.”

Sen. Collins: Rice misled public because she had a ‘personal stake’

Updated