Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) on Tuesday accused Republicans in Congress of using racial “code words” to undermine U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice even though they “can’t hold a candle to her intellectually.”
In a letter written to President Barack Obama on Monday, 97 House Republicans said that Rice “is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public” with her early assessment of the September attacks in Benghazi — which relied on CIA-approved talking points that did not mention al Qaeda.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has also pledged to block Rice if the president nominates her to become the next secretary of state, saying that she was “not qualified” and guilty of “not being very bright.”
Speaking at a press conference last week, Rep. Marcia Fudge said that there was “clear racism and sexism” behind the attacks on Rice.
On Tuesday, Clyburn told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien that he agreed with Fudge.
“These are code words,” the number three Democrat in the House explained. “We heard them in the campaign. During this recent campaign we heard Sen. Sununu calling our president lazy, incompetent. These kinds of terms that those of us — especially those of us who were born and raised in the South — we’ve been hearing these little words and phrases all of our lives. And we get insulted by them.”
“Susan Rice is as competent as anybody that you will find,” he continued. “To say that she erroneously did it, I don’t have a problem with it. But to call her incompetent, a Ph.D., a Rhode Scholar scholar being called incompetent by someone who can’t hold a candle to her intellectually, by someone who said — and Sen. McCain called her incompetent, as well — but he told us that Sarah Palin was a very competent person to be the vice president of the United States.”
“That ought to tell you a little bit about his judgement.”
Watch this video from CNN’s Starting Point, broadcast Nov. 20, 2012.
(h/t: The Hill)