That Benghazi Letter
by Sam Enderby
LINDSEY GRAHAM, one half of the distinguished tandem of senators from South Carolina, which contrary
to what I had previously thought, was Re-Admitted to the United States on June 25, 1868, says he doesn't think that there was any racism motivating the attacks on Amb. Susan Rice anent the ongoing tumult surrounding the deaths of 4 American citizens during an attack on the embassy in Benghazi. The Republicans are shocked to learn that Americans can get killed in faraway lands with a history of anti-American sentiment (and what place on earth is free from such misapprehensions); especially when the Republican-controlled House recently voted down appropriations for an increased security budget overseas and then only to hear from Ambassador Rice, speaking on behalf of the Obama Administration, on what was understood at the time thanks to our crack intelligence agencies what the story was concerning that attack. The President himself said that in time we will know just what happened and how and why and we will bring the perps to justice (just as soon as we fine-tune some more drones). Well it seems this wasn't good enough for Sen. Graham, a paragon of truth himself who once misrepresented (oh stop it, he lied) his military service on his official Senate website by declaring himself a veteran of Operation Desert Storm (the "war of 1991) when he never left South Carolina- admittedly, in his defense, not a single Iraqi soldier invaded South Carolina. Graham of course is fully qualified to point these things out to the rest of us hailing from such an enlightened place as he represents - he knows when a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford University (isn't that connected with another foreign policy expert named Rice?) with a B.A. in history, a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford where she finished a Ph.D and was recognized as a distinguished scholar in International Relations; and later served in various foreign policy capacities in the Clinton Administration and worked under
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who was a mentor and still later became a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings and a foreign policy advisor to John Kerry and all this before being named our Ambassador to the United Nations, when such a person is, as his good buddy, John McCain, likes to point out, incompetent to become Secretary of State or anything else as far as they're concerned - such discerning gentlemen as these. Graham, a lawyer -and a military one at that, a judge advocate and member of the South Carolina Air National Guard, he did serve brief stints in our most recent adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan but not in jet planes, follows in a long and shame-filled tradition of South Carolina politicians such as Preston Brooks who when serving as a congressman entered the Senate chamber one day back in 1856 and with his metal-tipped cane beat the senator from Massachusetts, Charles Sumner, senseless because of Sumner's abolitionist sympathies. Brooks resigned but only until the next election to which he was triumphantly re-elected and received a hero's welcome upon his return to his beloved South Carolina, where some 150 years later the Confederate Flag was finally removed from the state capital but is still displayed, I believe, at a nearby monument to fallen Confederate soldiers. After the caning Brooks said to his fellow representatives:
"If I desired to kill the senator why did I not do it? You all admit that I had him in my power. It was expressly to avoid taking life that I used an ordinary cane, presented to me by a friend in Baltimore nearly three months before its application to the “bare head” of the Massachusetts senator. I went to work very deliberately, as I am charged—and this is admitted—and speculated somewhat as to whether I should employ a horsewhip or a cowhide.."
What is not mentioned in this account is the small detail of Brooks' colleague and fellow representative from South Carolina, Larry Keitt, standing by his friend with a pistol in hand warding off anyone who may have been thinking to lend a hand. Brooks got off with a fine and poor Sumner took three years to recover. Then again, South Carolina took its slave-owning years very seriously ( query to all you school - age scholars- where did the Civil War start?) and somehow I believe it still sees itself has a bearer of a tradition - witness the career
of Sen Graham's predecessor, Strom Thurmond, and the present-day politicking of Governor Haley; in the beautiful city of Charleston there is a landmark claim to a house once lived in by an ex-slave named Denmark Vesey who is remembered today for having led a slave rebellion or at least helped plan one because it never really got going as it was betrayed, according to most accounts, by a few slaves themselves but just the thought of the attempt and the size and the location of what was being planned instilled so much fear in the white population of South Carolina and beyond that any vestige of the intended rebellion was quickly destroyed including the African church which Vesey founded. Vesey along with about 34 other slaves and freedmen were hung; as a consequence too rigid restrictions were now put on free persons (ex-slaves, African-American residents) of color as to their traveling and moving around those parts in and out of South Carolina- they needed a white escort to come and go as they pleased. I would bet that the ghost of Denmark Vesey haunts every South Carolinian born after 1822 - I like to think he's always somewhere plotting in the deep recesses of their being-This wasn't the image that generations of Americans - from North and South- were brought up to recognize thanks to our "popular' white culture most notably in the movies and later tv and it was certainly not in our history textbooks dating from, oh say the early 1970's and then work back through your parent's or grandparent's and certainly great grandparent's generation. McCain, of course, who has been particularly belligerent
and unyielding (until today- 23 Nov) is not from South Carolina-not that you have to be in order to be a certifiable racist but his family does have deep roots in the South-Mississippi, I believe, and as the Republicans really have no one to step up and be a leader (what a thought) McCain is the Sunday Talking Points Man for who finer than War Hero McCain to sally forth and proclaim to all the world his absolutely worthless opinions on anything- including foreign policy- especially foreign policy. Senator Lindsey will appear today on those same Sunday pacifying shows- I believe he's with that George Stephanopoulos (another corporate-accommodating host with a crush on Peggy Noonan - hey, don't we all) this morn and I will bet he
will as they say double down on his assault on Ambassador Rice ( I keep waiting for one of those clinching phrases to escape his clenched mouth such as "that colored woman" or "Auntie Susan" or "the foreign policy help" or "the Rice woman" or " I have nothing against her personally as long as she's not Secretary of State but she can cook for me anytime.." because the words he and numbnuts McCain spew are in this instance and use equivalent). Graham's home buddy, Sen. Jim DeMint, is a piece of work himself and is unspoken in this case except for his connection to the four Republican "freshmen" representatives from his home state ; all elected during the tea-party frenzy of 2010, all signed a letter addressed to President Obama that declared Ambassador Rice to be "incompetent" to be Secretary of State (by the way, there has been no formal announcement or offering or statement about this):
FIVE SOUTH CAROLINA CONGRESSMEN signed this. There are but 6 Congressional districts in the state. The 6th district is represented by James Clyburn, who is the third ranking Democrat in the House, and who took great offense with the language employed in this letter and rightfully so. Rep. Clyburn called it "code" and everyone but Fox News understood immediately what he was talking, civilly, about. Fox criticized Rep. Clyburn for pointing this offense out and wondered what "was the problem with Clyburn". Clyburn, for those who have been living on Mars for the past few years, is a Black man. 97 representatives signed this missive -all Republican and -save two - white. The argument put forth by the Right then is how could this be racist- 2 Black men have signed it too. Its cute and typical and if you're a blundering Republican its suppose to make sense. It is a false argument. Smoke. The letter is racist and I would state for all the world to hear that 95 of the signatories are racist. The two "brothers" are just bona fide followers ( I'm being kind). I am of the belief (not opinion) that a brother in this country no matter what his politics cannot be a racist. We can discuss this later. One of the brothers is a graduate of a fundamentalist college ( which is my code for "trouble") and has the distinction of being the first African-American Republican to be elected in South Carolina since Reconstruction. His name is Tim Scott.
He was elected with the enthusiastic endorsement of the so-called tea-party-ers including Sarah Palin and Eric Cantor and Mike Huckleberry; he once supported placing a huge display of the 10 Commandments ( and by the way there really ARE no ten Commandments, but we can discuss this later, too) just outside the county legislature; he sponsored a bill that would deny food stamps to families whose incomes dropped because a family member was a participant in a labor strike (just what DO they teach in these fundamentalist schools?); and for reasons that only Mr. Scott can state, he declined to become a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. The other brother is Allen West (Sufficient unto the day). The ridiculous Mr. West, a Congressman from Florida, has lost in his re-election bid but like many of the letter's endorsers who have also lost in their races he signed as they did because his signature is worth its weight in hypocrisy and disgrace. As for Mr. Scott's South Carolina colleagues the following item from Politico, July 2011 is of interest:
As freshmen members of Congress, the close ties among the South Carolina freshmen stand out. They regularly pray together and are in near constant communication
with one another about their votes. They dine together on Capitol Hill and play basketball in the House gym. Two of them, Duncan and Scott, share an apartment.
|Duncan must have been a barrel of laughs|
Their bonds developed before they came to Washington. Duncan, Scott and Mulvaney served together in the state legislature and both Scott and Gowdy belonged to the South Carolina-based Liberty Fellowship before their election to Congress.
The freshmen are some of the most conservative members of their class—
Mulvaney proposed an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill two weeks ago to freeze defense spending at FY 2011 levels and was soundly defeated by members of his own party. Last month, he opened up to POLITICO about his delegation’s “South Carolina versus the world” mentality.
“I know it’s been frustrating to our leadership sometimes, because they look at South Carolina and say, ‘What are these crazy guys going to do now?’ But all we’re doing is being true to our state,” Mulvaney said.
Duncan said at that time that their leadership had “gotten the message very clearly early on from us. They know we’re going to talk; we’re going to try to be like-minded when it comes to representing South Carolina.”
The positions taken by Sen. Jim DeMint — a conservative powerhouse nationally and especially in the state — undoubtedly loom large over the House delegation. The House freshmen periodically put DeMint on conference call to seek his advice on votes. DeMint was a strong opponent of the Boehner plan, appearing at a Tea Party rally Wednesday to urge members of Congress to “hold the line” against any vote but the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan passed in the House. The four freshmen insisted they were “no” or “lean no” votes throughout the week.
Asked whether divine intervention might hit during prayer Thursday night, Scott said: “Divine inspiration already happened. I was a lean no, and now I’m a no.”
JEFF DUNCAN-the first instigator(?) and signer - and a roommate of Mr. Scott's, when he's not too busy participating
in Chick fil-a Appreciation Day ( along with, we trust, Sen Lindsey) is noted for at least one newsworthy comment during his first term as an U.S. Congressman and that was comparing "illegal" immigrants to animals. Mike Mulvaney, South Carolina patriot("being true to our state"), is one of the "Young Guns" of the Eric Cantor inspired House flunkies and has been known to dabble in questionable real estate ventures thanks to his public trust position. Trey Gowdy comes across in various interviews and TV link ups as some one who thinks that History started only when he got elected in 2010. And JOE WILSON, once a ward of sorts to Strom Thurmond, is now a world renown asshole for once yelling out at President Obama during a televised speech to a joint session of Congress about the healthcare act, "YOU LIE". Mr. Wilson ran in this last election unopposed.
I intended this offering as a meandering meditation on the issue of race in Amercia while hanging the discussion on the letter to the President and like most of my never read attempts it takes on a life of its own - mine, of course, because a real reckoning with racism cannot help but be of a personal investigation before the grander themes attach as they must but I should relate that if I was any good at it I would try to connect in a more eloquent fashion the reference to Denmark Vesey's betrayal to the two Black "tea-party" representatives who stand with the 95 signers and others in their anti-Obama/ Republican bubble of lies and obfuscation. They have every right to and they don't. I once tried to explain to a close friend why I thought that there was nothing more absurd and offensive than a Jew driving around in his/her Mercedes or Volkswagon. The friend would ask why and I would stammer something inane about remembering and forgiving and then I came across a little passage in a novel by the African-American novelist, John Williams that articulated what I had been thinking better than I could have done.
In The Man Who Cried I Am, he has one of his ex-patriot writer characters (you really should read the whole book) comment on this very thing - I don't think it had to do with my "jewish" context but still he has the protagonist say something like once you have put down your money and drive away you have made a pact, a peace with the past, a pledge in a way to forgive -not forget, but forgive and for this we have no right- anyway, I wish I could site the paragraph for you but I have long misplaced the book and I don't even think its available on Kindle. And is it even appropriate for me to judge the two Black representatives because their politics don't meet "my" expectations? I would even admit to racism myself here except the current politics of the Republicans and their tea-party colleagues are beyond contempt and they have been ever since Obama was initially elected. It is illustrative of Congressman Scott's "career", for instance, to contrast it with the life and career of the last Republican to represent South Carolina's 5th Congressional District until 2010 when the "Young Gun" Mike Mulvaney was elected. His name was Robert Smalls - yet another name that seems to have escaped my early school history textbooks. Rep. Smalls' story is truly remarkable and has its own website today. He was a slave who literally sailed to freedom - along with his immediate family and some others- during the Civil War and his exploits were recognized by Abraham Lincoln. He is credited with actually being the founder of the Republican Party in South Carolina. He represented South Carolina in the House during the Reconstruction time and after and
was instrumental in drafting legislation during his time in the state senate that provided South Carolina with the nation's first free and compulsory public school system. At one time South Carolina -and Louisiana- Blacks were able to secure constitutional guarantees for integrated schools. At this time the blacks outnumbered the whites in their respective state assemblies. Of course the whites soon figured out a way around this "abomination" and by 1900 were very much back in control. All of which begs the question I would ask of Rep. Mulvaney and that is which South Carolina are you being true to? The state that at one time boasted of a Robert Smalls who in another incident of latter-day Un-republican-like behavior intervened -while a Congressman - in a day laborers strike involving several plantations along the Combahee River. It seems, according to the amazing Eric Foner, that these workers one warm day in May, 1876 walked off their jobs "demanding higher wages and payment in cash rather than checks redeemable only at plantation stores. Hundreds of strikers paraded through the fields calling laborers from their work and beating those who refused to join. In August, a resumption of the strike produced a confrontation between a Democratic rifle club and armed strikers; ONLY THE INTERVENTION OF CONGRESSMAN ROBERT SMALLS PREVENTED BLOODSHED." Rep. Scott would have their food stamps allocation reduced. Or is it the state that boasted a radical white supremacist like one time Governor and Senator Ben Tillman who once took apoplectically to the dastardly deed committed by President Theodore Roosevelt of having Booker T. Washington over for dinner. In 1900 "Pitchfork"Tillman, then a US Senator from South Carolina,
made this speech on the floor of the United States Congress:
"As white men we are not sorry for it, and we do not propose to apologize for anything we have done in connection with it. We took the government away from them in 1876 .... We did not disfranchise the negroes until 1895. Then we had a constitutional convention convened which took the matter up calmly, deliberately, and avowedly with the purpose of disfranchising as many of them as we could under the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments. We adopted the educational qualification as the only means left to us, and the negro is as contented and as prosperous and as well protected in South Carolina today as in any State of the Union south of the Potomac. He is not meddling with politics, for he found that the more he meddled with them the worse off he got. As to his "rights" – I will not discuss them now. We of the South have never recognized the right of the negro to govern the white man, and we never will. We have never believed him to be equal to the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him. I would to God the last one of them was in Africa and that none of them had ever been brought to our shores."
So which South Carolina is Rep. Mulvaney being "true" to? And what about the other 87 other distinguished Representatives from the other sovereign states? Are they as crass and as muddle-brained as their South Carolina colleagues? Are they seriously expressing the common interests and will of their constituencies? And if they are? Afterall, Joe the Asshole Wilson ran unopposed. It must be a source of great pride to us that in America in 2012 we are blessed to have such worthies representing such a wide spectrum of our people from coast to coast and over 18% of them signed this letter expressing their cumulative ignorance and loathing. This could take through Christmas but just a few more: there's Stevie King -Sioux City Steve who wants so much to make English the official language of Iowa while at the same time defends his friend's use of the phrase "LEGITIMATE RAPE" - this, of course, exposes all of this musing to the crime of omission- I should have emphasized as much the sexism and misanthropy among this group as well as the racism. I can be seen as a cracker from South Carolina myself- a state by the way that didn't ratify the 19th Amendment until fifty years after most of the country; the second signatory is a guy named Mike McCaul from Texas who wanted to strip away the basic right of deceased soldiers families to choose which prayers, if any, were to be read at a soldier's funeral. He wanted to impose a Christian ceremony on all military funerals. He knows a Secretary of State when he sees one. By the way he may be the richest person in Congress. He married Clear Channel Communications; Lynn Westmorelandfrom Georgia who not only has a girlie name but also the same name as the Losing general of the Vietnam War ( a deliberate slight, I know) who once defended the use of the word "uppity" to describe Obama - give him the letter to sign!;
Rep. StevAn (with an "A") Pearce from New Mexico signed biggest with a Flair Pen - boy, if only John Hancock had one of those- during an unsuccessful Senate run (but they like him for the House?) his press secretary was accused of plagiarizing from a Heritage Foundation paper! can you imagine why anybody would want to? As stated there are plenty of losers who insisted on signing this thing beside Allen West- there's Connie Mack who lost a senate race in Florida. His great-grandfather taught him to wear smart woolen suits with a bow-tie while playing in little league. Let the other kids laugh. Someone named "Quico" from Texas-I'm sure the Foreign Policy Establishment took notice; Ann Marie Buerkle from upstate New York barely had time in Congress for a cup of coffee but had time to sign on her way out the door; Someone named "Chip" from Minnesota, friend no doubt to that wacky woman who for some reason was re-elected, Michele Bachmann. The son of Richard Nixon's doctor, a guy named Dan Lungren from California lost his election but signed on the line just the same. His father was once head of "Youth For Nixon" (see earlier post anent "teach your children") There were a whole bunch of signers who had been underwritten by the Koch Brothers and the Health Insurance Lobby and, of course, the Oil and Gas people. A surprising number are doctors and nurses. You have to wonder if their education stopped after Anatomy 101. Many attended Bible College. One woman representative, Vicki Hartzler, a "birther" from Missouri was a high school Home Economics teacher for 11 years (ask her how to make a meat loaf and how to solve the traffic of nuclear material through Somalia) and while a state rep. was adamantly opposed to Missouri's ratification of the ERA. She was quoted as saying, "I don't want women used to pass a liberal agenda"; she was, nevertheless appointed chairperson of the Missouri Women's Council in 2005.
Note to Ambassador Rice: On second thought I wouldn't worry about this at all.
"By the time I was five, old enough to enter the primer grade, I knew my alphabet, I could count to over one hundred, and could read a little. I used to show off what I knew around the house, and everybody figured my first day in school would be brilliant because I really loved learning.
They named the first school that I attended in honor of Robert Smalls, one of the black heroes. During the Civil War, Robert Smalls captured a Confederate ship and helped a whole lot of his fellow slaves to escape. When the blacks came to power in South Carolina during Reconstruction and could vote, they elected him to represent the state in Congress. He went to Washington to speak so that they could get some land. You know, the forty acres and a muke that the U.S. Government promised us, but never delivered. Segregation came and turned around most of his work. The school that I attended, which was named after this great black man, never taught us three words about him. I was over forty tears old before I found out. Now, that seems strange. Our teachers should have at least told us about Smalls, because they made us pay attention to everything else we were told or suffer the consequences."
- copyright 1979 by John Birks Gillespie, born in Cheraw, South Carolina, Oct.21, 1917.
from DIZZY- To Be Or Not To Bop
The Autobiography of Dizzy Gillespie
The Time John McCain And Lindsey Graham Relayed Bad Intelligence On A Sunday Talk Show
The duo are attacking Susan Rice for giving bad information on a Sunday show. “He is lying, Tim, when he says he doesn’t have weapons of mass destruction.”posted
Andrew KaczynskiBuzzFeed Staff
Benghazi is a GOP Smear Campaign too Ugly for Words
1st December 2012
By David Kolb
The Muskegon Chronicle, November 26, 2012
The Muskegon Chronicle, November 26, 2012
If your intelligence isn’t insulted by the phony posturing of Republicans over the Benghazi tragedy, with their rain barrels of crocodile tears and pretend outrage for the dead, then you may not have any intelligence to insult.
Personally, I thought the GOP would slink away and manufacture a more plausible crazy conspiracy about President Barack Obama then the one they have concocted implicating him in the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans this past Sept. 11 in Libya.
In this July 18, 2011 file photo, Gen. David Petraeus, then top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, salutes during a changing of command ceremony from Petraeus to Gen. John Allen in Kabul, Afghanistan. Petraeus recently testified about the Benghazi tragedy.AP FILE PHOTO
Stevens died of smoke inhalation after attackers, presumably terrorists connected to al-Qaida, set the U.S. consulate on fire. Information officer Sean Smith died in the attack’s first stages. Former Navy SEALS Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed defending the Central Intelligence Agency annex.
Certainly, I thought Republicans would try a new ploy after ex-Gen. David Petraeus exploded the major GOP-inspired myth of Benghazi. The general, in congressional testimony under oath, said the White House was innocent of authoring a disinformation campaign to hide the salient facts from the public.
Alas, you could go broke betting on Republicans to show some class or do the right thing.
Petraeus, the former chief of allied forces in Afghanistan and most recently director of the Central Intelligence Agency, even while mired in the midst of his own personal disgrace, wouldn’t stoop so low as to exploit the deaths of fellow patriots.
Yet no bar is set too low for the radical right.
As the Party of No would have you believe, Obama and his henchmen in the State Department suborned murder and terror in Benghazi, masterminding a dastardly plan to deny Mitt Romney’s noble bid to become America’s first billionaire CEO president.
It’s a good thing voters understand Romney himself was responsible for his own very timely political destruction.
Going beyond insulting minorities, intimidating women, gay-bashing and threatening Latinos with “self-deportation,” Romney trolled the political gutter when, only hours after the attack on our personnel in Libya, he sought to politicize their deaths before the corpses of these heroes were even cold.
If you remember the original conspiracy theory put forth by Republicans, then you’ll remember Petraeus wasn’t even supposed to testify. You see, the GOP figured all that extra-marital rumpus was part of the plan allegedly designed to put the kibosh on the general.
Typical of that mindset was well-known Fox News “Senior Judicial Analyst” Andrew Napolitano who wrote, “The evidence that Gen. David Petraeus … was forced to resign from the CIA to silence him is far stronger than is the version of events that the Obama administration has given us.”
But Petraeus did testify!
And what he told congressional leaders supported Obama’s repeated assurances that the public had been provided with the best available information at the time.
So I guess the fairy tale has to change now to explain Petraeus’ betrayal of the right.
You can ask yourself all day why Republicans are all fast and furious in their denunciation of the Obama administration and the State Department.
You still will not come up with any real answer, since it is all blue smoke and broken mirrors. The GOP will spin you around like a top on the table trying to come up with a plausible answer.
One thing they won’t want to explain are their cuts to embassy security around the world prior to the Benghazi attack. The attack succeeded, by the way, because there wasn’t adequate security to defend the consulate there.
The Drudge Report, not exactly a left wing website, ran this report on Oct. 12:“For fiscal 2013, the GOP-controlled House proposed spending $1.934 billion for the State Department’s worldwide security protection program — well below the $2.15 billion requested by the Obama Administration.
“House Republicans,” Drudge went on, “cut the administration’s request for embassy security funding by $128 million in fiscal 2011 and $331 million in fiscal 2012. (Negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Senate restored about $88 million of the administration’s request.) Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Republicans’ proposed cuts to her department would be ‘detrimental to America’s national security’ — a charge Republicans rejected.”
Damning. This is Drudge! Democrats should be screaming this from the rooftops.
The solitary thread on which the GOP is hanging its fake outrage is the explanation that United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice originally put forth for the Benghazi attack.
But her early account of the attack was based on the initial intelligence community assessments and was always subject to review and updates.
Nevertheless, the Republicans, having failed to get anything on Obama and Clinton, want Rice’s scalp now for having misspoke — even though she did nothing wrong and acted completely within agency protocol.
So what the whole Benghazi charade has boiled down to is Republicans deep in their tantrum over semantics — adjectives, nouns, verbs — that the party claims is proof of some conspiracy for which they have no smoking gun.
Shameless. Brazen. Disgusting. There are few more apt words describing this smear campaign. But they are best applied to the GOP.
2 Diplomats Met Different Fates in Benghazi Uproar
By MARK LANDLER
Published: May 29, 2013
- WASHINGTON — The political tempest over last September’s deadly attacks on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, has left a path of dented careers in its wake. But as with many storms, the residual damage is proving to be distinctly uneven.
Justin Lane/European Pressphoto Agency
Susan E. Rice. Both she and Ms. Nuland are diplomats whose responses to the Benghazi attack have been scrutinized.
Consider the cases of Susan E. Rice and Victoria Nuland, two high-ranking diplomats whose internal roles were put on display when the White House released e-mails this month documenting how the administration drafted its official talking points about the attacks, which killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Ms. Rice, the ambassador to the United Nations and the favorite to be President Obama’s next national security adviser, continues to be criticized by Senate Republicans for going on Sunday news programs a few days after the attacks to deliver the talking points, which later proved to be inaccurate. But the e-mails reinforced her lack of involvement in the drafting process.
Ms. Nuland, a former State Department spokeswoman nominated by Mr. Obama to be an assistant secretary of state, was backed by some of the same Republicans, even though the e-mails show she pushed to edit the talking points — a process critics say was calculated to airbrush the White House’s account of the attacks for political reasons.
What accounts for the different treatment?
There are several factors, according to administration and Congressional officials, from personal relationships to the difference between a behind-the-scenes bureaucrat and a political ally who becomes the public face of the White House. But politics looms above all.
“Susan Rice was exposed because at a critical moment, she was out there with a narrative about President Obama’s foreign policy that the Republicans couldn’t abide,” said Aaron David Miller, a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
“Toria was buried in the internal bureaucratic ticktock,” Mr. Miller said, using Ms. Nuland’s nickname. “She is also someone who has very good contacts across the aisle, and around Washington. Susan fits the Republican anti-Obama narrative; Toria does not.”
Ms. Nuland, a well regarded 29-year veteran of the Foreign Service, once served as deputy national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and as ambassador to NATO under President George W. Bush. She is married to Robert Kagan, a neoconservative historian and commentator who advised Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign.
Ms. Rice, by contrast, was a former Clinton administration official and a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Obama in his 2008 campaign, during which she tangled with the Republican nominee, Senator John McCain. When Ms. Rice emerged as a leading candidate for secretary of state after Mr. Obama’s re-election, Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, became one of her most formidable opponents on Capitol Hill. Under pressure, she eventually pulled her name from consideration.
Last week, Mr. McCain rejected a senior White House official’s argument that Republicans owed Ms. Rice an apology. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said that rather than an apology, Ms. Rice deserved a subpoena to explain why she misled the public by delivering talking points that were later retracted as erroneous.
A day later, when Mr. Obama nominated Ms. Nuland as assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, Mr. Graham and Mr. McCain issued a joint statement declaring, “Ambassador Victoria Nuland has a long and distinguished record of service to our nation in both Republican and Democrat administrations.”
In some ways, Ms. Rice and Ms. Nuland, who both declined to comment for this article, had parallel experiences with Benghazi. Neither was involved in security decisions surrounding the American mission or an adjacentCentral Intelligence Agency annex.
Both became involved later: Ms. Nuland when she was brought into a Friday night deliberation involving the State Department, the C.I.A., the White House and other agencies about talking points prepared by the C.I.A.; and Ms. Rice when she was handed the finished talking points the night before she went on television.
Defenders of Ms. Nuland said she had pushed back on the C.I.A.’s initial account because it went beyond what she had told reporters and because it protected the agency at the expense of the State Department — noting, for example, that the C.I.A. had issued multiple warnings about terrorist threats in Libya.
The Caucus: Two Top Republicans Support Nuland Nomination (May 24, 2013)
Defenders of Ms. Rice said the talking points she delivered represented the best assessment of the intelligence community on the Sunday after the attack. She emphasized that this assessment could change with new information, and expressed regret later for saying Al Qaeda, rather than just the “core of Al Qaeda,” had been decimated.
Ms. Rice and Ms. Nuland both went to Capitol Hill to explain their role. Ms. Rice’s visit, in which she was accompanied by the C.I.A.’s acting director at the time, Michael J. Morell, did not mollify the senators. Ms. Nuland’s more recent visit seems to have been more successful.
“She told me her pushback was to try to protect the State Department from, in her view, unfair blame,” Mr. Graham said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. Asked how that differed from criticism that the administration had scrubbed the talking points, he said: “That’s a good question. She’s going to have to explain the role she played.”
But Mr. Graham drew a distinction between being involved in drafting talking points — “protecting your bureaucratic turf,” as he put it — and delivering an account to the American people.
The good news for Ms. Rice is that the post of national security adviser does not require confirmation by the Senate. Administration officials said she remained a prohibitive favorite. The current national security adviser, Tom Donilon, is expected to step down this year.
Mr. Graham sounded conciliatory about Ms. Rice’s potential future in the White House. He said that the choice of national security adviser was exclusively the president’s, and that Ms. Rice had the credentials for the job.
“She’s going to have her plate full, if she’s chosen,” he said. “I will not be petty. I will put my differences on Benghazi aside and work with her.”