White House blasts Republican efforts to block Susan Rice from State post


US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice speaks during a Security Council meeting in September.



The White House spoke out Tuesday against Republican efforts to block UN Ambassador Susan Rice from being nominated as the next Secretary of State.

The comments follow Rice's meeting on Capitol Hill with Republican senators John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who have said they intend to block her from the post, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The senators said they left the meeting more concerned than ever about Rice's possible appointment.

Ayotte went so far as to say she would block any successor to current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "My view is we should hold on this until we get sufficient information."

Press secretary Jay Carney said the GOP have been engaging in a politically motivated "obsession" with Rice and the statements she made shortly after the September 11 on what caused the attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Yahoo News reported.

"The focus on—some might say obsession on—comments made on Sunday shows seems to me and to many to be misplaced," Carney said. "I know that Sunday shows have vaunted status in Washington, but they have almost nothing to do—in fact zero to do—with what happened in Benghazi."

At the time, Rice incorrectly suggested the attack might have been the result of a demonstration over an anti-Muslim video. It was later determined that the assault, which killed US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, was the result of a premeditated terrorist attack.

"The questions that remain to be answered have to do with what happened in Benghazi, who was responsible for the deaths of four Americans, including our ambassador, and what steps we need to take to ensure that something like that doesn't happen again." Carney said.

On Capitol Hill, Rice explained, "Neither I nor anyone else in the administration intended to mislead the American people at any stage in this process, and the administration updated Congress and the American people as our assessments evolved."