Conservative MSNBC host Joe Scarborough is recommending that Republicans shift from attacking U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice over Benghazi and focus on her “temperament.”
During a panel segment on Wednesday’s Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski reported that Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had said they were even “more disturbed” about Rice’s initial assessment of the September attack on Americans in Benghazi after meeting with her on Tuesday.
“How did they pull Kelly Ayotte in?” Scarborough wondered. “They pulled Kelly Ayotte into this trifecta after [Sen. Joe] Lieberman starts running for the doors.”
“They need a third amigo,” New York magazine’s John Heilemann explained. “And now two of the three are women — at least one of the three are women. They both think they are trying to recover from the war on women.”
Scarborough noted that McCain and Graham had never accused Colin Powell of being unfit to be secretary of state after he went before the United Nations with false information about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
“Same with Condoleeza Rice,” he continued. “She gave bad information to Congress, not just a Sunday morning talk show — to Congress.”
“What are they doing?” Scarborough wondered. “This doesn’t help the Republican Party. This is like Mitt Romney’s dumb press conference the day after Libya exploded and [Ambassador Chris Stevens] died. There’s a time and a place — there are so many ways to go after Susan Rice for things other than this, on whether she even has the temperament to be secretary of state. That’s a big question in Washington, D.C.”
“Let me say it again, does Susan Rice have the temperament to be secretary of state? There are a lot of people — Democrats — who will tell you privately that just maybe she doesn’t. But we’re not talking about this. This is a clown show that’s going on right now.”
Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher pointed out on Wednesday that manufacturing a controversy about Rice’s “temperament” would be just as unfounded as attacking her over Benghazi.
“As apparently the only liberal with no interest in helping Republicans repair their political flux capacitor so they can get out of 1957, I wholeheartedly agree with Joe Scarborough, and then some,” Christopher wrote. “Instead of ignoring Ambassador Susan Rice’s impressive qualifications in favor of a ginned-up controversy, Republicans should ignore Susan Rice’s qualifications in favor of a ginned-up controversy and her ‘temperament,’ and maybe they could also wonder how Rice will perform as Secretary of State and get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour.”
Update (1:00 p.m. ET): TVNewser notes that that Heilemann’s joke about two of the three senators being women — which presumably was in reference to Graham — was edited out of the 8 a.m. re-air and was removed from the network’s website. Both the edited MSNBC clip and the original clip are provided below.
Watch this video from MSNBC’s Morning Joe, broadcast Nov. 28, 2012.
Watch this original clip before it was edited by MSNBC, broadcast Nov. 28, 2012.