Following GOP criticism over how she handled information on the Benghazi attack, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice has withdrawn from the running to be the next secretary of state.
During a discussion on Rice's decision, Joe Scarborough said that while the ambassador to the UN isn't blameless, the proportionality of criticism she has received is "ridiculous."
"She could be criticized for going out and blindly following talking points, which I would just say were approved by the intel community," Scarborough said Friday.
"I’d be far more disturbed, and most Republicans would be far more disturbed, if she were a cowboy and said a lot of things that the intel community told her not to say. But, that said, she isn’t blameless, but the proportionality is ridiculous. To judge a woman, and you can judge her for many things…but to disqualify a woman’s life’s work based on what she said on a Sunday talk show when she was following the talking points not of the Obama White House but of the intelligence community, there’s no proportionality there," he said.
Republicans including Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte have been heavily critical of the comments Susan Rice made regarding the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks in Libya on several Sunday talk shows, Meet the Press included. Last month, Amb. Rice met with those three senators to discuss the attack.
In a Rock Center interview with NBC's Brian Williams, Rice feared that Republican criticism would stall President Obama's agenda for his second term in office.
"But I really came to believe this wouldnot be weeks, but potentially months, and incredibly distracting and disruptive," Rice said thursday. "If my nomination meantthat the odds of getting comprehensive immigration reform passed or any other major priority were substantially reduced, I couldn't live with myself."
Mika Brzezinski wondered if there was more to the controv, ersy surrounding Rice than just a "disgusting take down by the GOP."
msnbc.com and Morning Joe regular Richard Wolffe seemed to suggest he didn't think so.
"I don’t think anything about this has been proportionate. If you want to go and investigate the security lapses in Benghazi or look at what the ambassador or his security detail were doing in Benghazi, you don’t go after someone for their performance on Sunday talk shows. You just don’t," he said.
NBC News' Andrea Mitchell said that while there may have been no nudge from the White House on whether or not she should withdraw her name from the running, that Amb. Rice was, in fact, "reading the tea leaves" on the situation. Mitchell also said that Obama my have stuck with Rice for as long as he did on the nomination, in part, for fear it would look as if he were backing down from a challenge from Sen. McCain.
Scarborough also invoked former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who famously spoke before the United Nations and accused Iraq of having weapons of mass destruction.
"Let’s strip this down and talk about what it was really about: politics…"Hey, did the Bush administration ever play politics with intel? What about Colin Powell? I’ve got deep, abiding respect for Colin Powell…[but] he more than anybody else in the past quarter century delivered a speech in the most critical of moments in America and botched it every way he could. We went to war, in part, because of what he said at the U.N. that day and no Republican stood up and said Colin Powell is unfit to be secretary of state."