Shorter Question Everything
There’s a possibility that McCain may have wanted to find a way to get himself out of the mess he made over Susan Rice and Benghazi, but he seems to have found himself right back up that tree, with Ayotte and Graham kicking away the ladder. It doesn’t seem to matter what amount of information they get, it never seems to be enough. Despite having access to the very people that would answer their ‘questions’, they always come away with more ‘questions’. It’s not hard to see that this isn’t about ‘questions’ at all. It isn’t about answers. It’s about payback. Payback for Bush failures. Payback for lost elections. Payback for lost power and influence, period.
The most ridiculous claim made by McCain was in comparing information coming out of the Benghazi attack to information coming out of the Bin Laden raid. The US planned and executed the Bin Laden raid, so it’s not really a surprise that it knew what happened. Using that to compare against an attack that the US knew nothing about would be a no-brainer for most people but there’s McCain, blathering on as though this little nugget made any sort of sense whatsoever. If McCain had any sense left, he would be ashamed of this latest stunt but I doubt he will feel that way, especially after the fluffing he’s likely to get as he goes on Fox news for the bagillionth time. In the real world, however, saying such stupid things has consequences, or it should have.
It looks bad. The more that comes out, it just looks bad, and not for Obama and Rice, but for the sore losers on the right that are making up this nontroversy as they go.
I suppose Graham and Ayotte want to join McCain in his irrelevancy.
• Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Tuesday pointed to the example set by Democrats who refused to confirm John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations when he was asked if he would be willing to back Ambassador Susan Rice as secretary of state. Speaking to reporters after meeting with Rice, Sens. Graham, John McCain (R-AZ) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) all seemed to escalate their opposition to the current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations over her public assessment of September attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
• Could John McCain really be this dumb. On an interview on his Benghazi/Susan Rice double down he just questioned how it was we had so much information so quickly about the raid on the bin Laden compound than we had about the attack in Benghazi. Now, you may remember that the facts of what apparently happened in the bin Laden raid changed pretty dramatically from the initial accounts. But set that aside, you tend to know more about a raid you spent a year planning and executed yourself than a raid on your compound which as kinda tends to happen in these you didn’t know about in advance and happened in dark.
• If you thought the Republican Party might have finally been so embarrassed by their attempts to inflate the Benghazi attack into a huge scandal that they were starting to back away from this ridiculous mess, think again. Right wingers are apparently not finished embarrassing themselves yet: John McCain ‘Troubled’ by Susan Rice’s Benghazi Explanation at Meeting.
Sen. John McCain and two other GOP senators said they were “significantly troubled” after a private meeting with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice about her erroneous explanation of the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
And the senators left open the possibility they could try to block Rice’s promotion if President Barack Obama nominates her as secretary of State. Acting CIA Director Michael Morell also joined Rice at the meeting.
“The concerns I have are greater today than they were before, and we’re not even close to getting the basic answers,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), joined by McCain and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), told reporters after the closed-door meeting. “I would place a hold on anybody who wanted to be promoted for any job who had a role in the Benghazi situation.”
• White House Press Secretary Jay Carney grew testy with reporters Tuesday over questions about U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s role in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack. “What is the point of the focus on this?” Carney asked of questions about Rice’s comments on the five Sunday shows days after the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed four Americans, signaling it was a spontaneous event. “It could have been me. We all relied on information from the intelligence community.”
• Author Tom Ricks on Tuesday said Fox News is “making it up” that he apologized after slamming the network during an on-air interview as “operating as a wing of the Republican Party” and hyping Benghazi for political reasons. Ricks told POLITICO that Michael Clemente, Fox’s executive vice president of news, made the claim he apologized privately because “when the facts aren’t on their side, they attack the person.” “Clemente is making it up, and it is sloppy of Hollywood Reporter to not ask him for specifics — what exactly am I alleged to have said? — and also to seek a response from me,” Ricks wrote in an e-mail. “Why are they doing this? Because their MO is that when the facts aren’t on their side, they attack the person.” Clemente told The Hollywood Reporter that Ricks apologized privately to the network after the Monday interview.
• The 113th Congress will set some big diversity records, with more women serving than every before and an entire delegation of women from New Hampshire, but unfortunately none of that diversity will be reflected in House committee leadership. House Speaker John Boehner announced the chairs of most major House committees for the 113th Congress on Tuesday, and all 19 of them are white mal[e]s, prompting many Democratic lawmakers to ask, “Where are the women?”—a phrase often echoed last year as women’s voices were kept out of hearings on women’s health issues. The lone Republican minority congresswoman who has served as chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee during the 112th Congress, Florida’s Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, is stepping down because of term limits.
• Blood And Hair And Eyeballs All Over The Floor: Piecemeal measures won’t save us from the fiscal cliff, former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY), told Hardball’s Chris Matthews on Tuesday. His advice for his former colleagues: “Go big or go home.” Simpson said some lawmakers “love their party more than they love their country,” and that they would wait until the last minute to strike a deal. “They’re going to react right down to the last point when there’s going to be blood and hair and eyeballs all over the floor and they’re going to come up with something, but let me tell you, if it’s just kicking the can down the road, the can is now a 55 gallon drum filled with explosives. You can’t play that game anymore,” said Simpson. The former lawmaker also took a hit at conservative activist Grover Norquist’s crusade to get members of Congress to vow never to raise taxes. “So how do you deal with guys who came to stop government, or Grover wandering the Earth in his white robe saying you want to drown government in the bathtub. I hope he slips in there with it,” Simpson said.
In other news
• In the wake of a vicious attack on a lesbian woman in Alabama, writer and activist Dan Savage reminded LGBT people, “The Second Amendment applies to queers, too.”
• Tens of thousands of people are staging a protest in the Egyptian capital against President Mohamed Morsi, who last week granted himself sweeping new powers. “The people want the regime to fall,” the crowds chanted. Protesters and riot police clashed in Cairo on Tuesday near Tahrir Square, the birthplace of the uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago.
• Tennessee state officials were responding to a rash of bomb threats called in to county courthouses and government offices in 29 counties on Tuesday, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said. The calls — many directed to county clerks — started coming in about 10:15 a.m. CT (12:15 p.m. ET), prompting closures and evacuations while law enforcers searched the facilities. The FBI was also involved, Knoxville, Tenn., NBC-affiliate WBIR reported.
• U.S. special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan to leave. The US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan is stepping down, an official said, in yet another shake-up of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy team. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, herself set to leave office early next year, had pulled envoy Marc Grossman out of retirement to take on the difficult job shortly after the sudden death of veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke in December 2010. “After almost two years in the position, and with Secretary Clinton’s agreement, he will return to private life,” Grossman’s spokeswoman Laura Lucas told AFP in a statement.
• Gruesome Kosovo probe held under tight security. Visitors need 24-hour security clearance, grizzled Belgian guards man the entrance, no phones or cameras please: welcome to the latest, and probably the last, of the big Balkans war crimes probes. The US diplomat and prosecutor leading the investigation into one of the most gruesome and politically sensitive affairs of the times — allegations of organ trafficking in the 1990s implicating Kosovo’s current leadership — has set up office not in the Balkans, but in Brussels. Concerns about witness harassment and tampering of evidence are such that Clint Williamson, the 51-year-old American at the head of the European Union investigation, the most notorious inquiry to date, is taking no chances.
• China, faced with an aging population, is considering relaxing its one-child policy in urban areas, a former national population minister said.
• France will support a Palestinian bid for non-member U.N. “observer state” status, the foreign minister said, and Spain will do the same, El Pais reported.
• An official from the Uganda military said the rebel M23 movement in neighboring DRC has until Thursday to give up its positions in Goma near the Rwandan border.
• Tzipi Livni, a former foreign minister who advocates territorial compromise with the Palestinians, announced her candidacy Tuesday in Israel’s approaching elections, adding her name to an already fractured array of centrist challengers to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
• Foreign Secretary William Hague says the UK is set to abstain in a key vote on whether the Palestinians should be given upgraded diplomatic status at the United Nations.
• A court in Argentina is beginning hearings in the largest trial of crimes committed during the so-called “Dirty War” between 1976 and 1983. Sixty-eight former officials face 800 charges of kidnap, torture and murder associated with an elite naval college.