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Topic of the day: Susan Rice's expected nomination as national security advisor

Susan Rice, seen here giving a speech at the United Nations on North Korea, is expected to become the new national security advisor to the Obama administration.
Susan Rice, seen here giving a speech at the United Nations on North Korea, is expected to become the new national security advisor to the Obama administration.
Associated Press

President Obama is expected to announce the appointment of current U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice — known for being a target of criticism over her statements made in the wake of last years attack on an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya — to be his new national security advisor.

Rice was considered a potential nominee for secretary of state, but amidst controversy over her role in the Benghazi attacks she publicly withdrew herself from the process when it was expected that the GOP in the senate would attempt to block her nomination. However, since the national security advisor does not have to be nominated by Congress, Rice would simply be appointed by the president and assume the position.

“Susan Rice, who has been named President Barack Obama's third national security adviser, probably should have been his first,” writes David Rothkopf for CNN International. “Of all the things on Rice's resume — her blue-chip academic background, time at the National Security Council, the State Department, the Brookings Institution and the United Nations — what counts the most is this relationship with the president.” Rothkopf — who knows Rice personally — notes that this a perfect job for her, squared away from normal congressional drama. She would be able to get in and put her extensive credentials in foreign policy to work.

But K.T. McFarland at Fox News doesn't see it the same way as Rothkopg: “My reaction was Susan Rice as National Security Adviser? She will be a DISASTER.” McFarland, who spent several years under arguably the most well known security advisor, Henry Kissinger, doesn’t think Rice posses the qualifications to be an effective advisor. And that’s not to mention her role in Benghazi; “She has zero credibility with the media, on Capitol Hill, with the foreign policy community and foreign leaders, and is so badly tarnished by the Benghazi scandal that she walks into the job on Day One weak and wounded.”

Meanwhile, at the New Republic, Michale Schaffer wonders what all the fuss is about. “The initial word from the White House media corps is that Rice represents a walking, talking middle finger that Obama is aiming straight at the GOP." But this is far from the high profile case the media is making it out to be. "The nature of Rice’s new job means there will be no hearing-room showdown and no legislative arm-twisting. Sen. John McCain, who just a few months ago was hectoring Chuck Hagel over the Pentagon nominee’s alleged wrongness about the Iraq surge, tweeted this morning that while he disagreed with the Rice appointment, ‘I'll make every effort to work w/ her on imp't issues.’ It was not the tweet of a bear poked with a stick.”

Schaffer notes that many had expected Rice to be security advisor ever since her hopes of secretary of state were dashed.

This may be just the start in what some are predicting will be a long battle between executive branch nominees and congressional approval, and while Rice's nomination as national security advisor wouldn't go before Congress, expect to hear senators and representatives voicing their opinions regardless.

Freeman Stevenson is a Snow College grad and is the opinion intern. Reach me at fstevenson@deseretdigital or @freemandesnews