Democratic congressman James Clyburnappeared on CNN’s Starting Point earlier today to defend U.N. ambassador Susan Rice from criticism over her role in a possible cover-up following the attacks on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Soledad O’Brien specifically asked Clyburn about the tone of the attacks leveled at Rice. Clyburn said that Republicans have been using racial “code words” to attack Rice and have gone over the line in attacking her qualifications.
“These are code words. We heard them during the campaign. During this recent campaign, we heard Senator Sununu calling our president ‘lazy,’ ‘incompetent,’ these kinds of terms that those of us… we’ve been hearing these little words and phrases all of our lives, and we get insulted by them.”
Clyburn said it would be one thing for Rice to be criticized for doing something in error, but to attack her qualifications and competence is over the line. He added that Rice is being called incompetent by people “who can’t hold a candle to her intellectually,” and found it especially critical that McCain would call her incompetent when, as Clyburn pointed out, he thought Sarah Palin was a good choice for VP.