U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice speaks for President Obama, as Vice President Joe Biden pointed out on Tuesday night.
But what was surely intended to be a nice pat on the back for the ambassador has created an awkward position for the administration in regard to the Benghazi attacks.
“[Rice] also has … the absolute, total, complete confidence of the president of the United States of America,” Biden said, as POLITICO reported. “So when she speaks, when she speaks in the discordant world we reside in right now, no one wonders, no one wonders, whether or not she’s speaking for the president.”
Biden’s remarks came during his address at the gala dinner for The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, where Rice was presented with the 2013 Louis E. Martin Great American Award — despite her involvement in spinning the Benghazi narrative. He also said the ambassador has “done an incredible job representing America’s interests.”
But if Rice speaks for the POTUS, then how would the administration explain away her Sunday morning news show appearances just days after the Sept. 11 attack?
During her interview with FOX News Sunday, Rice said the attacks were “a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo as a consequence of the video.”
Following the Benghazi attacks, the Obama administration was put under the microscope for the back-and-forth narrative it presented about whether the U.S. consulate was targeted due to terrorism or as a backlash following an anti-Islam video. It soon became apparent that the attacks in Libya were terrorism, despite administration officials — and the President himself — saying otherwise.
When the administration’s conflicted narrative was brought up during the presidential debates, President Obama asserted that he had labeled the onslaught as terrorism from the start, pointing to remarks he made in the Rose Garden a day later.
“No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for,” he said at the time, in what is a weak admission of terrorism at best.
Yet as a CBS transcript released just days before the 2012 president election revealed, the President said in an interview after the Rose Garden appearance that it was too early to tell whether or not the attack was terrorism.
So if Rice does indeed speak for the President, as Biden says, Obama is once again in a tight spot when it comes to Benghazi.