WASHINGTON, DC — Before Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham went after Susan Rice for claiming that the attack in Benghazi was the result of an anti-Islamic video, the pair defended then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from charges that she was a “liar” over her testimony claiming there were WMDs in Iraq.
“I am dead set on making sure we don’t promote anybody who was a player in the Benghazi debacle,” Graham said on Wednesday in reference to Rice’s appearances on the five Sunday shows in which she blamed the Benghazi attack on a anti-Islamic video.
The Obama administration has said Rice was relying on CIA assessments pointing to the video, one of which has leaked.
“She is so disconnected from reality that I don’t trust her,” the South Carolina Republican added.
But in 2005, Graham was fiercely protective of Rice as she faced confirmation to take over the State Department, chaffing at terms used by Democratic lawmakers to describe her testimony.
“The words like ‘misleading’ and ‘disingenuous,’ I think, were very unfair,” Graham said on Fox News.
Asked if then-Sen. Mark Dayton’s use of the word “liar” was justified, Graham pounced.
“Yes, that’s even more unfair. Because it was all in terms of weapons of mass destruction and misleading us about the war and what was in Iraq. Well, every intelligence agency in the world was misled. And to connect those two to say that she’s a liar is very unfair, over the line.”
Before the vote, McCain noted from the Senate floor that the chamber had enough votes to confirm Rice to the job, questioning why Democrats wanted to debate her nomination.
“So I wonder why we are starting this new Congress with a protracted debate about a foregone conclusion,” he said, adding that Rice is qualified for the job. “I can only conclude that we are doing this for no other reason than because of lingering bitterness over the outcome of the election.”