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Rich Lowry: The agony of Susan Rice

Published: November 24, 2012

You can probably guess what it is. “You're saying that McCain's being driven by racial prejudice here?” Chris Matthews asked. Wolffe replied, “There is no other way to look at this.” No other way.

Yes, because we all know that the Republican Party could never abide a black woman as secretary of state. Across the last 20 years of our national life, only one party has had lily white secretaries of state. If she were nominated and confirmed, Susan Rice would make history — as the Democrats' first black secretary of state.

GOP shouldn't get distracted

As it happens, the mouthpiece defense probably has a lot to it. Rice was aiming to please the White House in a high-profile audition. If she's nominated, Republicans shouldn't let the ritualistic cries of racism scare them off of holding her accountable. On the other hand, they shouldn't get distracted from more important questions involving the president himself.

Was he apprised of prior attacks on the consulate, and what did he do with that information? When did he get the accurate account of the attack from the intelligence agencies? What did he do when he learned of the hours-long attack, and what orders did he give to help the besieged Americans?

We know in great detail the president's involvement in the Osama bin Laden raid. But Benghazi has been a closed book. If the White House had a good story to tell, presumably The New York Times already would have reported the details in a front-page article built on leaks by anonymous administration officials.

Say this for Susan Rice: She would be a secretary of state worthy of this administration.