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Rep. James Clyburn: Republicans Are Using Racial ‘Code Words’ to Attack Susan Rice

Congressman James Clyburn defended U.N. ambassador Susan Rice on CNN’s Starting Point today, fending off criticism from Republicans that she was part of a Benghazi cover-up and is unfit to serve as Secretary of State.

Soledad O’Brien made it a point to ask Clyburn what he thought about the tone of the GOP attacks on Rice, and Clyburn said the attacks had a racial overtone.

CNN’s Dana Bash asked Clyburn if he was upset at the CIA for leaving Rice “out on a limb” by removing any reference to al Qaeda from her remarks, to which Clyburn responded that Rice didn’t have any choice but to read the talking points she was given.

When O’Brien pressed Clyburn on why he was so bothered by the G.O.P. attacks on Rice, Clyburn referenced a letter signed by 97 GOP congressmen, which maligned not only Rice’s statement on Benghazi, but her intellect as well:

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 Republicans are within their rights to question the administration’s decision regarding Benghazi, but they have no reason to question Rice’s qualifications.

It is remarkable that the same party which supported Sarah Palin as McCain’s vice presidential nominee are maligning Susan Rice, a former Rhodes Scholar and Stanford University graduate.

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