What’s an ambassador gotta do to get some respect around here?
After weeks of blistering criticism and character assassination of the current U.N. Ambassador, Susan Rice, for her presentation of the facts known immediately after the attack in Benghazi, the leaders of the opposition, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, seemed to soften in the last week. As the hearings on Benghazi progressed and it became clear the information Rice disseminated was exactly was had been released by the CIA up to the point of her many television appearances, and after the fierce defense of his ambassador by the President, McCain and the pack backed off a bit. The presumption that Rice would be nominated to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, however, continues to rankle, so a meeting was set up for three of the most outspoken senators to meet face-to-face with Ms. Rice.
John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) all met with Susan Rice this morning. Given the shift in their earlier biting stance, the presumption was that they’d come away from the meeting with smiles and reassurances that all was well and they’d be happy to support Rice’s nomination for State.
Not so fast.
According to most reports, including the Huffington Post, the meeting was a bust:
“Bottom line, I’m more disturbed now than I was before that the 16th of September explanation about how Americans died in Benghazi, Libya, by Ambassador Rice I think does not do justice to the reality at the time and, in hindsight, clearly was completely wrong,” Graham declared at a press conference after the meeting. […]
Asked by reporters on Tuesday if the morning meeting had changed their opinion of Rice’s qualifications, however, Ayotte responded, “I have many more questions that need to be answered.”
Which immediately inspires its own question: why didn’t you ask your “many more questions” while you were there in the meeting with Ambassador Rice?? You were there, she was there, the meeting was happening in real time; when better to get your “many more questions” asked?
Even after researching other news sources, there has been no further reported information about the meeting, as of this time, other than what has been reported here. Which gives one a sense that this was either an opportunity missed for the Senators to actually get all their questions asked, or there are elements of the meeting not being reported; elements that may have contributed to Senator Graham being “even more disturbed.”
Clearly more will be revealed as the story unfolds. For right now, a suggestion seems in order: if there is to be another meeting, perhaps it would be wise to send along a reporter, an objective third party, or a member of the Democratic contingent to help ferret out information these three were not able to ascertain, or to at least be present in the room to offer clear, unfiltered perspective after the fact.