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McCaskill: Rice Is Scapegoat for Benghazi

Sen. Claire McCasklll, D-Mo., defended U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice against the pointed Republican attacks that could endanger the diplomat’s possible appointment to be secretary of State, saying Rice has been unfairly scapegoated for the mistakes of others.

Rice has come under fire for comments she made in September regarding the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which she insisted the attack was in response to a controversial video.

“I think it’s terribly unfair what has happened to Susan Rice,” McCaskill said Sunday on “Meet the Press.”

“I do not understand for the life of me — the talking points came from the intelligence community, yet you don’t hear one criticism of [former CIA Director] David Petraeus. It was his shop that produced the talking points that Susan Rice talked about, and she mentioned al-Qaida in the interviews.”

McCaskill also suggested Susan Rice is being held to a higher standard than Condoleezza Rice, though Condoleezza Rice was heavily criticized by Democrats and some Republicans when she held the top State Department post under President George W. Bush.

“I mean, really? Is there a double-standard here? It appears to most of us that there is. A very unfair one,” McCaskill said. “This is a strong, smart, capable, accomplished woman, and I think there are too many people over there that are looking for a scalp.”

When asked whether she thought President Barack Obama should push forward with Susan Rice’s nomination to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, though, McCaskill would not commit definitively.

In the same interview, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the likely ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee in the 113th Congress, said he would consider any Rice nomination as part of the confirmation process, but he predicted it would never get to that point.

“I don’t think she is going to be nominated, but I’ve told people I certainly will give her a fair hearing,” Corker said, noting that Rice is viewed by many Republicans as more of a political operative than a government emissary.

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