President Barack Obama is firing back at a pair of Republican senators who have launched a preemptive attack against his potential nominee for secretary of state, saying that “to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.”
In a series of media appearances on Wednesday, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) pledged they would do everything in their power to block the possible nomination of Susan Rice, the current ambassador to the United Nations, as secretary of state.
The senators have based their objection on Rice’s role in disseminating the White House’s version of events in the days immediately after the September attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. At the time, Rice told several television stations that the attack, which left four Americans including the U.S. ambassador to Libya dead, was not believed to be related to terrorism.
Administration officials later acknowledged that this was incorrect, and said the misleading information was the product of incomplete “talking points” from the intelligence community, although Republicans on Capitol Hill believe the White House knew the truth sooner.