John McCain, Lindsey Graham Vow To Block Susan Rice From Becoming Secretary Of State

Fresh of the news that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is at or near the top of the list of candidate to replace Hillary Clinton at the State Department, two prominent Republican Senators are vowing to block her nomination if it’s put forward:

Senior Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday made crystal-clear their opposition to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as a nominee for secretary of State. Speaking at the Washington Ideas Forum, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., criticized Rice’s faulty explanation of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Libya.

McCain said point-blank that he would oppose the nomination of Rice to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Asked if he would do anything to block her, including filibuster, he bluntly answered “yes.”

Graham added: “I don’t trust her.”

“I think she was a political choice, telling a political narrative, and either she didn’t know the truth about Benghazi—so she shouldn’t have been on T.V.—or she was spinning it,” Graham said. He said he wouldn’t “promote” anybody involved in the “Benghazi debacle.”

“I don’t think that’s a good resume to be secretary of State,” Graham said.

Graham also told the WIF panel presented by The Atlantic and The Aspen Institute that he thinks there might be at least one Democrat who’d vote against her, but dodged the question of whether the five necessary Republicans would defect to allow her confirmation.

Picking Rice would certainly be a controversial choice, not the least because of the role she played in the initial intervention in Libya and then two months ago in the Administration’s response to the attack on the consulate in Benghazi. Would the rest of the GOP caucus join McCain and Graham in blocking the nomination, though? Given the uproar over Benghazi and the fact that its now gotten tied into a sex scandal that brought down a CIA Director, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. john personna says:

    The Republicans are blowing Benghazi to this day. I almost wonder if Rice is a lure for them to make further fools of themselves.

    No one, in any scenario, has suggested that the Obama administration with any other intent than the national interest.

    Republicans very foolishly believe that by pointing out errors they can ascribe malice. It won’t work that way with the general public. It will boomerang.

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    I was going to say that the analogy to naming Susan Rice to head State would be if Mike Brown circa November 2005 had been named to head DHS, but that falls short and actually it’s a major insult to Brown. It’s not as if Brown could have prevented Katrina in the literal sense.

    So the proper analogy is Holder being named head of the Border Patrol or Geithner being named to head the IRS. Or in figurative terms Soros being named the head of the SEC.

  3. Geek, Esq. says:

    Remember when Condi Rice had her nomination blocked because of her screw-ups during the first term?

    Oh yeah.

    The bitter caucus won’t reach numbers as high as 40.

    Bonus quote from John McCain circa 2005:

    I wonder why we are starting this new Congress with a protracted debate about a foregone conclusion. I can only conclude they are doing this for no other reason than because of lingering bitterness over the outcome of the election.

    Obama just dared Graham and McCain to take him on instead of waging war against Rice. Smack.

  4. john personna says:


    Well, idiot downvoters, make your case for treason.

    Remember, Obama was under no obligation to skew the news for your political dreams. He was there, the State Department was there, the Ambassador was there, to advance US interests as best they could.

    The Republicans are totally operating on the level now of … “but, but, but, Romney lost! That means something was wrong.”

  5. Tom Hilton says:

    Well, partisan witch hunt is pretty much what Graham does best. Remember his role in the Clinton impeachment?

  6. Dave says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Typical comment for a Republican, it both completely understates the cynicism of the Bush Administration in appointing someone as unqualified as Brown and overstates Ms. Rice’s involvement in Benghazi while slighting her qualifications. Check out Ms. Rice’s qualifications for the job she was appointed to versus Mike Brown’s. The problem with Republicans is that they genuinely don’t respect expertise and knowledge(they actually resent them), everything is just a sales job to them.

  7. al-Ameda says:

    McCain has decided to go all in on stupidity now. What a hack. So much for that “statesman” crapola.

  8. Tillman says:

    Conspiracy theorists will be going on about this for years. If she’s nominated and confirmed, this will be the second two-term presidency, consecutively even, to have an outgoing Secretary of State replaced by a black woman with the last name of Rice.

    @john personna: The malice Republicans attach to the administration’s response to Benghazi is more over “the cover-up” leading up to the election aiding Obama’s win. It’s not over possible treason. These people impeached Clinton for trying to cover up an affair with an intern, and to my knowledge no one did it because it might be against the national interest for the president to get a BJ now and then.

  9. Dazedandconfused says:

    I’m not sure I like the idea Rice as SoS. She hasn’t struck me as being particularly shrewd in the area of realpolitik, but it’s nice to see Obama show some spine. Should have been pushing back against conspiracy theory junk from day one of his Presidency.

  10. Herb says:

    Good luck, Senators. You’re gonna need it….

  11. Ray says:

    Take these clowns’ military perks (16 billion dollars to secessionist loving South Carolina) and whatever McCain stockpiles in Arizona and show them who’s boss!!!Take away McCain’s federal Vets and Soc Sec Benefits while you’re at it!!!!