Rep. Jim Clyburn: Susan Rice Detractors Using Racial Code Words, Richard Wolffe

(Photo: AP)

Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice was one of the most-seen administration officials in the aftermath of the September 11 Benghazi tragedy.  She took to a staggering five Sunday talk shows that weekend to insist, despite overwhelming evidence, that the attack that killed Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans was not terrorism, but a “spontaneous” response to a little-watched YouTube video.

Now that more information has come to light, many are wondering where exactly Rice got these inaccurate “talking points,” and who told her to push them so aggressively.  After the possibility was floated that she could become the next Secretary of State, Republican lawmakers questioned if a woman who was the face of a misinformation campaign (intentionally or not) should really hold such a position.

But all of this really only has to do with the color of Rice’s skin.  At least, that’s what a growing number of Democratic lawmakers would have you believe.

On Tuesday morning, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien that objections to Rice’s potential nomination are really just racial “code words” that those who were “born and raised in the South” are easily able to recognize.

Echoing voices who have been making similar claims all weekend, Clyburn explained (transcript via CNN):

These are code words. We heard them during the campaign. During this recent campaign, we heard Sununu calling our President ‘lazy,’ ‘incompetent.’ These kinds of terms that those of us – especially those of us who were born and raised in the South – we’ve been hearing these little words and phrases all of our lives and we get insulted by them. Susan Rice is as competent as anybody that you will find…. It certainly caused a big problem with me. I don’t like those words. Say that she was wrong for doing it, but don’t call her incompetent. That is something totally different. A lot of very competent people sometimes make errors, and to say that she erroneously did it, I don’t have a problem with it. But to call her incompetent, a PhD Rhodes Scholar, being called incompetent by someone who can’t hold a candle to her intellectually. By someone who said, and Senator McCain called her incompetent as well. But he told us that Sarah Palin was a very competent person to be Vice President of the United States. That ought to tell you a little bit about his judgment.”  [Emphasis added]

Here is video of the exchange:

MSNBC also floated the idea.

Richard Wolffe, who was named the vice president and executive editor of MSNBC’s website in October, appeared as a guest on “Hardball” with Chris Matthews Monday night to argue the same thing.

He remarked:

“…Frankly, it’s outrageous that there is this witch hunt going on on the right about these people of color, let’s face it, around this president. Eric Holder, Valerie Jarrett, now Susan Rice — before, it was Van Jones.

“This is not about who is hawkish in the same way John McCain is about foreign policy, because if you look at Iran and Libya, Susan Rice checks those boxes. This is a personal vendetta. It’s about presidential authority.”

Here is video, via the Daily Caller (skip to about 3:10):

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