McCain Attack On Susan Rice Backfires
The softer language signalled the first break in what had been a united GOP front against Rice, who they characterized as unift to serve as Secretary of State and threatened to block her nomination, according to Talking Points Memo.
Rice has not been nominated to serve as Secretary of State.
McCain eased his stance on "Fox News Sunday Morning."
The USA Today editorial board blasted the strategy against Rice, calling out the GOP for hypocrisy when claims of weapons of mass destruction, smoking guns and mushroom clouds by Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice are recent history.
Sen. Lindsay Graham, who serves with McCain on the Senate Armed Services Committee, also backed off the hardline talking points. On ABC's "This Week," Graham shyed away from repeating his earlier promise to outright block a Rice nomination and instead said she would face "a lot of questions about this event."
The change in tone was driven by the shift in the congressional balance of power since the election. From the Associated Press:
The subtle shift in GOP tenor on Rice could be the result of internal grumblings on how far to take party opposition. Democrats picked up extra seats in the election to maintain their narrow majority, making it that much harder for the remaining 45 Republicans to block the president's nominees.
Not all Republicans on the hill are ready to give up so easily, however. Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, rejected Rice's defense and maintains she is "wrong" on this issue, the Hill reported.
Click here for more coverage of McCain's campaign against Rice.