Senators John McCain (left) & Joe Lieberman had opposite reactions to their meetings with Susan Rice. PHOTO: Reuters
Just when things were starting to look bleak for Susan Rice’s chances of becoming Secretary of State, Senator Joe Lieberman offered up a lifeline:
She couldn’t have said more clearly than she to me today…she said what she believed was true and she under no political influence from the white house, to me based on her public record and her public service, she’s answered the questions that I had about why she said what she did on those Sunday morning talk shows.
Lieberman added that Rice’s errors concerning Benghazi were based purely on the intelligence she had, and not on any attempts to deceive.
But I think that anybody in Washington, particularly in Congress, ought to have a little sense of mercy about those kinds of errors because they were not in my opinion intentional attempts to deceive the American public. She said basically what the intelligence community told her was the truth [as] she tentatively understood it the day she went on national intelligence.
Lieberman, who caucuses with the Democrats as an Independent, seems to be responding directly to Republican senators McCain, Ayotte, Graham and Collins, the former two he is often in accord with on issues of national security. Each of them had met with Rice and emerged “concerned,” or “troubled,” by how Rice had explained her statements about the attacks on the American embassy in Benghazi on Sunday talk shows. Whether Lieberman is able to calm the nerves of his colleagues remains to be seen, but as a hawkish legislator who often clashes with Democrats, his comments have a much better chance of reaching Republicans than the claims of political point-scoring by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, among others. If nothing else, he diversifies the coalition who are downplaying Rice's statements made five days after the Benghazi attack, and provides some political cover for Republicans who want to join him. susan rice benghazi. benghazi benghazi