William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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QUOTE OF THE DAY – AT 10:25 A.M. ET:  We recall with warmth how our esteemed president, chivalrous to his core, defended our put-upon UN ambassador, Susan Rice against the coarse, cruel, misogynist ravings of the Republican Party.  What a man!

Well, not really.  Even Kirsten Powers, a Democrat and a liberal, thought Obama's behavior was ridiculous, and she is right: 

Don't pick on the little lady.

Wednesday, President Obama bizarrely cast the U.N. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, as some delicate flower the boys should stop picking on for her dissembling claims on five Sunday talk shows following the killing of 4 Americans in Benghazi. But, there is no damsel in distress and Obama's paternalistic bravado in defense of a top administration official is going to come back to haunt him.

"If Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me," Obama intoned to the stenographers worshipping at his feet. The media had gathered for a rare "press conference" where Fox News's Ed Henry and ABC's Jake Tapper are usually the only ones who ever seem to ask a question that elicits anything other than filibustering presidential pabulum. (One "journalist" actually congratulated the president on his win and gushed about how she has never seen him lose an election.)   Group hug!

Obviously caught up in his own silly yarn about meanie senators and helpless U.N. ambassadors, the president complained, "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."

Imagine George Bush saying that people criticized John Bolton because he was an "easy target." He wouldn't.

It's absurd and chauvinistic for Obama to talk about the woman he thinks should be secretary of state of the United States as if she needs the big strong man to come to her defense because a couple of senators are criticizing her.

Believe it or not, Rice isn't the first potential Cabinet nominee to be opposed by members of Congress up on the Hill. Obama also left out the inconvenient detail that there is another senator who has Rice in the crosshairs: Sen. Kelly Ayotte. But perhaps a female senator holding Rice accountable didn't sound menacing enough in the era of the "War on Women."

But it gets much worse.

As the president expressed outrage over the atrocity of members of Congress holding administration officials accountable, he said, "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?"

Feast on those words for a second: The U.N. Ambassador had "nothing to do with Benghazi." At this point, the White House press corps should have flown into a frenzy, demanding to know why a person who had nothing to do with Benghazi was put on five Sunday talk shows as...the face of Benghazi!

COMMENT:  Very well said.  And the president has now trapped himself.  He almost has to nominate Rice to the State post, lest he be seen as caving in to the monsters.  But Rice has an appallingly bad record as U.N. ambassador.  Veteran reporters have been startled at how weak she is, and how indifferent to her job she often seems.  She seems to spend more time in Washington than at the U.N.  We'll be examining that record in the near future.

Oh, by the way, Powers mentions Kelly Ayotte, the Republican senator from New Hampshire.  Watch her carefully.  She may well be the Republican vice-presidential candidate in 2016.  A ticket of Rubio-Ayotte would be powerful.  She's a knowledgeable, thoughtful, and increasingly assertive senator who has served as attorney general of New Hampshire.  She does have some serious controversies in her past, but she often turns them to her advantage.  Ayotte is becoming a major Republican spokeswoman on foreign policy.

November 16, 2012