From the first mention of UN Ambassador Susan Rice as a possible successor to Hillary Clinton as President Obama’s next Secretary of State, a number of Republican senators have openly opposed her nomination.
Republican Senators John McCain (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC) and Kelly Ayotte (NH) had voiced concerns about Rice’s qualifications after her statements on Benghazi. In an effort to resolve their concerns, the three senators met privately with Susan Rice and acting CIA Director Michael Morell for over an hour on Tuesday. The topic of discussion was the statement Rice made to the UN and American people five days after the Benghazi attack.
Apparently the meeting did not go well and the three senators said they had more concerns over Benghazi than before. Sen. John McCain commented after the meeting:
“We are significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got and some that we didn’t get concerning evidence that was leading up to the attack on the consulate and the tragic death of four brave Americans and whether Ambassador Rice was prepared, or informed sufficiently, to give the American people the correct depiction of the events that took place.”
Senators Graham and Ayotte both echoed McCain’s comments and said that they were both quite concerned with the answers they received.
Rice is scheduled to meet with several other senators this week and it will be interesting to see if they come out of those meetings with the same concerns that the first three senators had.
Rather than help smooth over the possibility of Rice’s nomination for the Secretary of State, the meetings so far have only served to help cloud the issue and make her appointment more questionable than before. However, if Rice continues to meet stiff opposition, it appears that next in line is Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) who currently chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Perhaps Kerry would be a better candidate for Secretary of State as that would get him and his seniority out of the Senate. I wonder if former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) could then run for and win Kerry’s seat in the Senate? Wouldn’t that be a kicker to watch Brown and newly elected Sen. Elizabeth Warren square off on the Senate floor.