The idea of sending U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice to Capitol Hill seems to have stemmed from remarks one of her fiercest critics, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), made this past Sunday, suggesting he’d be open to speaking with Rice about the controversy over her comments following the embassy attack in Benghazi. But so far, according to the accounts of four Senators with whom she met, the meetings did not go well.
We learned from Rice’s meetings Tuesday that McCain and Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) were even more “troubled” after having spoken with Rice. Yesterday, moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine surprised observers by adding her concern to the chorus. Later in the day President Obama told the press that Susan Rice was “extraordinary.”
Here’s the question: With Sens. Graham and Ayotte both considering a hold on the nomination, and with Collins’s reaction potentially foreshadowing trouble winning over other moderate votes, were the Capitol Hill meetings a strategic blunder – especially considering Ambassador Rice has a reputation for being direct and sometimes confrontational? Did her visit to Congress dampen the Ambassador’s chances of getting the Secretary of State nomination, paving the way for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to get the nod instead? We’ll explore the politics at play and the impact on both foreign policy and possibly the Senate (should a vacancy arise with a Kerry selection) when Alex hosts NOW from DC, today at noon ET on msnbc.
Josh Green, Sr. National Correspondent, Bloomberg Businessweek (@joshuagreen)
Glenn Thrush, Sr. White House Reporter, POLITICO (@glennthrush)
Karen Finney, Fmr. DNC Communications Director/msnbc Political Analyst (@finneyk)
Ryan Grim, Washington Bureau Chief, The Huffington Post (@ryangrim)
P.J. Crowley, Fmr. Asst. Sec. of State/Fmr. State Dept. Spokesman (@pjcrowley)
Rula Jebreal, msnbc Contributor