President Barack Obama on Wednesday lashed out at Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for their "outrageous" attacks on U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice "because they think she's an easy target" and dared them to "go after me" instead.


During a press conference on Wednesday, ABC's Jonathan Karl noted that McCain and Graham had threatened to block Rice if she was nominated to be secretary of state because she repeated an incorrect CIA judgement that September the attacks in Benghazi that killed four Americans had been a reaction to an anti-Muslim video.

"Let me say specifically about Susan Rice, she has done exemplary work," the president insisted. "If Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I'm happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous."

Obama said he would not argue that Congress had a duty to get to the bottom of the attacks, "but when they go after the U.N. ambassador apparently because they think she's an easy target then they've got a problem with me."

"And should I choose if I think she should be the best person to serve America in the capacity of the State Department then I will nominate her. That's not a determination that I've made yet."

Watch this video from CNN, broadcast Nov. 14, 2012.