U.S. Sen. Harry Reid tonight lamented the decision, announced earlier today, of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to withdraw her name from consideration for secretary of state. Here’s what he had to say:
“Ambassador Rice is eminently qualified to serve as Secretary of State and she could have been confirmed by the Senate. The politically-motivated attacks on her character from some of my Republican colleagues were shameful. Based on her impressive career and accomplishments as a Rhodes Scholar, a top official in the State Department and our Ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Rice deserved far more respect than she was shown by certain Senate Republicans. Their behavior was a disgrace to the Senate’s tradition of bipartisan cooperation on national security issues, and beneath the stature of senators with otherwise distinguished records on national security. I hope that moving forward, senators will act based on fact-finding and serving the public interest, not advancing partisan political agendas or settling old scores.
”I believe Ambassador Rice should continue to help steer our nation’s foreign policy, as she has done so successfully, and I look forward to continuing to work with her.”
Now, I’m not sure who Reid could be talking about here, but I think that perhaps he might have been referring to Arizona Sen. John McCain, who made a personal crusade out of attacking Rice in the wake of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stephens. McCain vowed to oppose Rice’s nomination to secretary of state, after she used intelligence community talking points in testimony about the attacks that later turned out to be inaccurate.
Reid and McCain have had a strained relationship. When McCain ran for president, Reid said he didn’t think McCain had the temperament for the job. And Reid has rejected McCain’s request to form a select committee to investigate the Benghazi matter, calling it the politicization of national security.