Nightly News   |  November 27, 2012

GOP ‘disturbed’ by Susan Rice’s testimony

UN ambassador Susan Rice, widely considered the President’s top choice to replace Hillary Clinton, was grilled by the Senate Tuesday. She acknowledged she had been wrong to say Benghazi was a copycat attack and continued to blame the CIA for providing her with that information. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> she's considered the front-runner to become one of the most powerful women in the world. america's next secretary of state replacing hillary clinton . and after being hammered for weeks by republican critics, over the benghazi affair, ambassador susan rice asked for a face to face meeting with some of her most vocal critics to make things better. the meeting took place today and appears to have made things worse. so the partisanship on the benghazi issue is alive and well , and the question now becomes will there be a showdown with the president over his friend and ally, ambassador rice. it's where we begin tonight with our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell in washington. good evening.

>> good evening, brian. susan rice , by all accounts, the president's top choice to replace hillary clinton , had hoped to mend fences on capitol hill . it didn't turn out that way. the u.n. ambassador hasn't been nominated to be secretary of state. today she volunteered for a grilling in the senate. her critics were not satisfied.

>> we are significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got and some that we didn't get. the bottom line, i'm more disturbed now than i was before.

>> rice was wrong on a key fact when she went on five morning problems and said benghazi was a copycat attack.

>> it was initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in cai cairo.

>> reporter: there was no protest in ben gasdy, she blamed the cia as she did last week.

>> i relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community . i made clear that the information was preliminary.

>> acting cia director accompanied rice today. in effect her wing man, but it didn't help.

>> i'm more troubled today knowing, having met with the acting director of the cia and ambassador rice.

>> rice did persuade one senator.

>> she said what she believed was true. and she was under no political influence from the white house .

>> reporter: joe lieberman is quitting the senate, won't have a vote. rice and the president have a special relationship forged during the first campaign. much closer than his cordial working relationship with clinton. the current secretary of state rice would be succeeding. the president has made it clear he will fight for rice.

>> if senator mccain and senator graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me.

>> reporter: and today the white house was not backing down.

>> the focus on, some might say a session on comments made on sunday's shows seems to me and to many to be misplaced.

>> race told the senator she wanted a chance to clear her name. later, two of the senators she met with said they would still put a hold on her nomination. that's senate speak for blocking it. still, the white house is planning to fight for her, and senate democratic leaders say they can get her confirmed.

>> andrea mitchell at the state department to start us off tonight. andrea, thanks.