{{show_title_date || "McCain ‘draws line in the sand’ for Rice nomination, 11/19/12, 7:00 PM ET"}}

Scarborough: McCain’s anti-Rice effort ‘terrible’ for GOP


Joe Scarborough is slamming Sen. John McCain’s campaign to prevent Ambassador Susan Rice from becoming Secretary of State. Meanwhile, a group of House Republicans has lined up solidly behind the Arizona senator.

The Morning Joe host said Tuesday that McCain’s anti-Rice effort ignores the UN ambassador’s larger record and does no favors for a Republican Party that’s struggling to win minority support.

“My problem is, a woman that has a couple of decades of public service—she’s got a record here—they’re narrowing it down to one Sunday afternoon where she read her talking points,” Scarborough said. “And as we said last hour, if she’d deviated from the talking points the intelligence community had approved, she’d be unfit for office.”

“The president has to love this,” Scarborough continued. “The Republicans just got pummeled, people of color ran away from them in record numbers. And so the first big fight post-election, you’re gonna have old white guys taking on a younger person of color?”

McCain has pledged to do “everything in my power” to stop Rice from landing the top job at Foggy Bottom, citing what Republicans see as her misleading and inaccurate public statements about the role of terrorism in the September attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

As we wrote Monday, when Condoleezza Rice was nominated for the same post in 2005, McCain was less troubled by her use of flawed intelligence to push the U.S. into war with Iraq.

McCain got some support for his effort Monday afternoon, when a group of 97 House Republicans sent a letter to President Obama urging him not to nominate Susan Rice. The lawmakers wrote that Rice’s “misleading statements” about the Benghazi attacks “caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world.”

Still, the House has no say in whether Rice gets the job. And beyond Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close McCain ally, it’s not clear how much support McCain has among his Senate Republican colleagues, who so far haven’t rushed to join the anti-Rice effort. To stop Rice from being confirmed, McCain likely would need to mount a filibuster—something that, Scarborough said, would be even more damaging for the GOP.

“It’d be terrible for the Republican Party, terrible for the Republican brand,” he said.