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Obama to McCain: You can’t stop Susan Rice from being Secretary of State

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

President Obama, irritated by Republican pledges to prevent Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice from receiving a promotion, said that Rice’s critics “have a problem with me.”

“When they go after the UN ambassador apparently because they think she’s an easy target, then they’ve got a problem with me,” Obama told reporters today.  “And should I choose — if I think that she would be the best person to serve America in the capacity of the State Department [head] then I will nominate her, but that’s not a determination I’ve made yet.”

Obama was responding to a press conference held by three GOP  senators this morning. “We will do whatever’s necessary to block the nomination that’s within our power as far as Susan Rice is concerned,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told reporters today during a press conference on Capitol Hill. McCain faulted Rice for saying that the Benghazi terrorist attack grew out of a spontaneous protest against an anti-Islam Youtube video.

“Why did our ambassador to the United Nations, in interviews five days after the attack, also try to blame [the attack] on the hateful video when it was clear from the earliest hours of the attack that it was a sophisticated offensive and that there was no protest?” McCain said as he called for a congressional investigation into the attack, independent of the Obama administration.

“She gave her best understanding of the best intelligence that had been provided,” Obama said today in defense of Rice. “They should go after me, and I’m happy to have that discussion. But for them to go after the UN ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi . . . to besmirch her reputation, is outrageous.”

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