The Ultimate Guide To McCain’s Smear Campaign Against Susan Rice

This is the same John McCain who referred to then Senator Barack Obama as “that one” in a 2008 presidential debate. It seems Senator McCain is still bitter over the loss of that race.

Think Progress

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) launched an all-out assault on the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice yesterday in an attempt to block her from becoming the next Secretary of State. McCain claims that Rice’s role in disseminating information about the attacks on U.S. assets in Benghazi, Libya in September means she’s “not qualified” to be the nation’s top diplomat. Because of these alleged missteps on Benghazi, McCain said, “I will do everything in my power to block her from becoming Secretary of State.”

But the evidence to back up McCain’s attacks on Rice is thin, if non-existant. Below is a list of McCain’s main attacks on Rice, and why they’re either false or misleading:

1. McCain attacks Rice for saying anti-Islam video may have sparked Benghazi attack. Referring to Rice’s suggestion on Sept. 16 that the Benghazi attacks may have been sparked by animosity over an anti-Islam video, the Arizona Republican claimed yesterday on Fox News that Rice “went out and told the American people something that was patently false and defied common sense.” He added on CNN: “It was obvious to one and all that this was not a ‘spontaneous demonstration’ because in real time, they saw there was no demonstration.”

REALITY: Rice was merely repeating U.S. intelligence assessments. The Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported that CIA talking points on the Benghazi attack dated Sept. 15, or the day before Rice’s Sunday show appearances, stated that “[t]he currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex.”

And this is exactly what Rice said, for example, on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sept. 16. “Soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in.”

And on Sept. 16, Rice did not, as McCain suggests, offer a definitive assessment of what took place. In fact, she cautioned that it could change after an investigation. “[T]here’s an FBI investigation which is ongoing,” she said. “And we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired.”

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