Washington, D.C. — Susan Rice is fighting for her political future as critics question her chances of becoming the next Secretary of State once Hillary Clinton steps down.
Senior Republicans such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham have said they will oppose her getting the position if President Obama decides to nominate her. Others, such as Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, have said she is unsuitable for the role.
Much of the criticism comes from appearances on Sunday morning TV shows five days after the attack in Benghazi, Libya in September. Four Americans, including US ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in the attack.
Critics say Rice misled the American public by suggesting the attack was part of a spontaneous protest and not an organized assault by al Qaeda affiliates.
Rice’s supporters, however, praise her intellect. The 48-year-old is a former Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Stanford and Oxford. However, they say, she has won few popularity contests.
Member of the UN’s 15-nation Security Council have complained about Rice’s negotiating tactics, criticizing her for being “undiplomatic” and “sometimes rather rude.”
One diplomat said, “She’s got a sort of a cowboy-ish attitude. She has a tendency to treat other countries as mere (U.S.) subsidiaries.”
“She’s not easy,” said David Rothkopf, top manager and editor-at-large of Foreign Policy magazine. “I’m not sure I’d want to take her on a picnic with my family, but if the president wants her to be secretary of state, she’ll work hard.”
Rice defended her comments about Benghazi the day before Thanksgiving.
“I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community,” Rice told reporters at the UN. “I made clear that the information provided to me was preliminary and that our investigations would give us the definitive answers.”
She also said, “I look forward to having the opportunity at the appropriate time to discuss all of this with [McCain.]”
Rice’s supporters also say much of the criticism around her were examples of sexism as her tough nature is usually seen as an asset in male foreign affairs officials.
Do you think the criticism of Susan Rice is motivated by sexism, or are the concerns legitimate?