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Is Susan Rice's New Promotion a Political Reward or Redemption?

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks as former aide Samantha Power (L), U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice (R) and incumbent National Security Adviser Tom Donilon (2L) listen during a personnel announcement at the Rose Garden of the White House June 5, 2013 in Washington, DC. President Obama has nominated Rice to succeed Donilon to become the next National Security Adviser. Obama has also nominated Power to succeed Rice for her position to the UN. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he will appoint United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, whose actions and statements following the attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi last year drew the ire of conservatives, to White House national security advisor. Rice had been a leading candidate to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, but removed herself from consideration after Republicans threatened to stand against her confirmation if nominated due to remarks on five Sunday shows after the events of September 11, 2012, claiming that the attack was a "spontaneous demonstration" linked to an obscure YouTube video.

The announcement was met with criticism from conservative commentators, as Karl Rove called the appointment Wednesday morning a "defiant gesture" by the White House.

"The president is saying to Republicans, 'I know you think she lied, [and that] she misled the country, but who cares? I'm doing it,'" Rove said on Fox News, adding that he believes it's part of an overall strategy by Obama to be more partisan. The Drudge Report quickly posted a link to Rice’s appearances on Sunday talk shows last September where she read inaccurate talking points.

On the other hand, liberal commentators celebrated the pick, with The Huffington Post front page titling a story on the announcement "Huge Redemption For Susan Rice."

To replace Rice at the UN, Obama announced he will nominate Samantha Power, a human rights expert and former White House adviser that left the West Wing earlier this year. Power attracted attention to herself in 2008 when as an Obama campaign aide she labeled Hillary Clinton a "monster," and is the wife of former regulatory czar Cass Sunstein. TheBlaze notes that Power is an ardent defender of interventionist policies.

On 'Real News' Wednesday the panel discussed if the announcements by Obama regarding Rice and Power show that he puts friends in high places based--at least partially--on their ability to stand by the President during political controversies.

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