This is a clip of the press conference held by Democratic Congresswomen, Friday Nov. 16, 2012, on the attacks on Susan Rice. There was no transcript that accompanied the clip, so I have tried to transcribe some of it, though my transcription abilities are limited. I also couldn't figure out how to edit it, so excuse the bit in the beginning not from the press conference.
AP covered the story, and here is the ABC news version:
Dozen House Women Defend Rice Over Libya Comments
What I find interesting are some of the other headlines like this one:
Women in House call Rice criticism sexist, racist.
It was in the Q&A session at the very end that an AP reporter used these words in her question to the congresswomen.
Most of what was said during the press conference focused on Ambassador Rice's service to America, her brilliant career, and the lack of patriotism exhibited by Senator McCain and other critics.
Congresswoman Gwen Moore, WI was the moderator of the press conference. On her website I found this press release which provided information not included in any of the news articles:
Yesterday the group released a statement that was co-signed by more than 50 House Members. They included Reps. Gwen Moore (WI-4), Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Karen Bass (CA-33), Eleanor Holmes Norton (Del.-D.C.), Terri Sewell (AL-7), James E. Clyburn (SC-6), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20), Barbara Lee (CA-9), Silvestre Reyes (TX-16), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-11), Adam Smith (WA-9), Frederica S. Wilson (FL-17), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Rick Larsen (WA-2), Steve Cohen (TN-9), Janice D. Schakowsky (IL-9), John Conyers Jr. (MI-14), Brad Sherman (CA-27), Louise Slaughter (NY-28), Betty McCollum (MN-4), Corrine Brown (FL-3), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-5), Bobby L. Rush (IL-1), Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11), Danny K. Davis (IL-7), Hansen Clarke (MI-13), Sanford D. Bishop (GA-2), G.K. Butterfield (NC-1), Elijah Cummings (MD-7), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Charles B. Rangel (NY-15), Cedric L. Richmond (LA-2), David Scott (GA-13), Robert “Bobby” Scott (VA-3), Al Green (TX-9), Keith Ellison (MN-5), Melvin L. Watt (NC-12), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-23), Tim Ryan (OH-17), Donna M. Christensen (Del.- V.I.), Henry “Hank” Johnson (GA-4), Andre Carson (IN-7), Chaka Fattah (PA-2), William Lacy Clay (MO-1), Michael Honda (CA-15), Gregory W. Meeks (NY-6), Doris Matsui (CA-5), Bennie G. Thompson (MS-2), Laura Richardson (CA-37), John Lewis (GA-5), Janice Hahn (CA-36), Donna Edwards (MD-4), and Rush Holt (NJ-12).Please follow me below the squiggle for my notes on what was said, and who participated.
DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton spoke first because she had a meeting to attend.
I happen to know Susan Rice well because she is a constituent, and I have followed her extraordinary career since she was a child
"Some members of the Senate seem to be unable to contain themselves…shoot the messenger, prejudge and block..."
“accusatory Senators – have they bothered to even look at this existing record?
Susan Rice has more than earned Phi Beta Kappa, Rhodes scholar. Made the scapegoat of the tragedy"
"Rush to judgement.. unprofessional and reckless"
"We will not allow a brilliant public servants record to to be mugged – to cut off her consideration to become Secretary of State"
Rep. Gwen Moore, Co-chair of Democratic Women’s study Group introduced the other congress women gathered next to her.
Susan Davis – Armed Services Committee, San Diego CA, Janice Hahn CA, Barbara Lee CA, Donna Christensen – Delegate Virgin Islands, Yvette Clark NY– on Homeland Security committee.
Gwen Moore “what unmitigated gall for these men to attack Susan Rice…but to batter this woman because they don’t feel they have the ability to batter President Obama is something we are not going to stand by and watch. Their feckless and reckless speculation is unworthy of their offices as Senators. There was a time when I regarded Mr. McCain, in particular as a gentleman. I am sad that this is not one of those moments. Rushing off to a press event rather than going to a briefing ..a closed briefing on the facts.. in his zeal to vent and to rant as a result of the elections. The comments that “she is not so bright, that she is untrustworthy…these are comments that beg the question when you look at her laudable resume. We are basically asking them to walk back those comments .
Marcia Fudge 11th District of Ohio:
I know when you lose you get angry. I know that when you lose you are disappointed …but don’t take it out on someone who didn’t have anything to do with your loss – blame yourself.
How do you say that a person with Susan Rices’ background is not qualified? I wonder what your qualifications are for your job? Where did you finish in your class (murmurs of agreement in the background of umm hum)…I know one of them finished in the bottom of their class. Susan Rice was a Rhodes scholar.
How do you say a person like Susan Rice is not qualified? You may not like her, you may not like the administration, but don’t say she’s not qualified. She is the most qualified person that I’m sure any of you know, that these Senators know…I am confused. I really am…cause none of it makes any sense. To just throw out things..Susan Rice’s comments didn’t send us to Iraq and Afghanistan..(sounds of laughter and agreement) somebody else’s did but you’re not angry with them.
Anytime something goes wrong they pick on women and minorities (come on now) I have a real issue with that. I’m probably not the most educated person in this house (you are an attorney)..but I’m close. These people really don’t understand what we do here. We’re here to represent the United sates, to move this country forward, not to tear it down. We are not here to make life difficult for people who work hard everyday to the do the job that this country has entrusted them to do. So for you who are ‘haters’, as the young people say, your hate is going nowhere. Just go on and hate on, but look in the mirror and hate yourself, not the people who do this work – thank you.
Moore steps back up to the podium.
It is the job of these Senators to question policy…but ad hominim attacks that’s what they do instead of dealing with the policy issues. We have a very distinguished member with us..Jan Schakowsky from Illinois who serves on the Intelligence Committee.
Schakowsky brought up Condoleezza Rice in her remarks:
All of us were given a briefing, based on intelligence that she had no part in collected. …subsequently update, not wrong not deliberately misleading in anyway.
If anyone has a problem with the information take it up with the intelligence community and with the president…he said ‘come to me” so to besmirch her incredible career and her stature and the words that came out of her mouth is completely inappropriate, and by the way inconsequential…I’ve asked the question of the intelligence committee…would anything have been different if the intelligence had been completely different in the beginning..would there have been different actions and the answer was no…so I’m a bit confused about the whole hoo-ha-ha about this Benghazi situation other than that we all agree it was a tragedy that we had the loss of life.
But it is interesting to me that we aren’t discussing another Rice, who went before all of the Sunday talk shows some years ago whose statements about false intelligence actually were based on more information than that held by Susan Rice about this situation. …4,486 us soldiers killed in Iraq, not to forget to mention the other loss of life that occurred there. That really made a difference and I would say if you live in a glass house don’t throw stones. (that’s right) and there is no worthy reason to throw any stone at Susan Rice. (here here…very profound)
We’ve been joined by congresswoman Laura Richardson. This very “unqualified woman’ spearheaded international efforts to bring international sanctions against Iran. Sanctions on North Korea and of course has brought significant acumen to bringing down dictator Mohamar Gaddafi
Terri Sewell, Alabama
I stand with my colleagues ..these recent attacks are nothing short of offensive Leading the charge are Senators who profess to want to block any potential nomination of this overly qualified public servant and I for one, like all of us cannot sit back and not say this is wrong. It’s not only wrong, its actually unpatriotic To be clear the attack on in Benghazi should be investigated …finding and bringing the real culprits to justice.
To suggest that Ambassador Rice would knowingly and purposely mislead the American people is simply not true. This tragic incident should not be fodder for political and personal gain. I am outraged that these Republicans would even suggest that this admin and this chief diplomat would be complicitous in this tragedy. It’s offensive and unpatriotic.
….Senator McCain's egregious comments that Ambassador Rice is unqualified and not very bright are not only vitriolic but woefully untrue.
With all due respect Senator McCain, I know Susan Rice. I have known Susan Rice for 25 years. We were graduate students together at Oxford....we could not ask, if our President so chooses for a better Secretary of State. Not only is she a brilliant scholar, first African American valedictorian at National Cathedral school in Washington DC, a Truman Scholar, a Rhodes scholar, won awards for her research in Africa and in foreign policy , she has an exemplary career in the nation's service. And one that we should not sit idly by and let be tarnished. She is not only a wonderful public servant and woman of character, but a person I am proud to call my friend. And even more proud to call my UN ambassador and even more proud to call sec of state (applause)….
Gwen Moore makes a dig at McCain about recruiting “qualified women" and then introduces Karen Bass CA. “we all know what the real deal is, we know what the story was about before the election, it was about trying to undermine the election of President Barack Obama…after the election I feel that our Republican colleagues are disoriented and have been in a tailspin since the election. They want to shoot, they don’t know who to shoot , they don’t know where the target should be so ruight now the target is on the back of Susan Rice. There is no there there, this has been very clear….
"Congress need stop and make sure the State Department has the resources to protect our diplomats" ..she goes on to discuss the Republican cuts from the State Department budget. Over the holidays my Republican colleagues need to do some soul searching. Do they plan to spend the next four years chasing ghosts, the ghosts of Watergate, the ghosts of Whitewater in an attempt to derail his presidency?
I…I’m waiting for Donald Trump to now ask for her transcripts (laughter from all the other women)
They ended with a Q and A session with the press.
AP: Can you elaborate on sexism and racism?
Fudge ..No question, no question about it…they have never called a male unqualified, not bright ..they didn’t say that about General Petraeus…
“this is a signal from Senator McCain that they are not going to cooperate with the second administration of Barack Obama…this is their warning shot."
The clip ended abruptly so you did not get to hear the rest of the questions from the press.
Again, apologies for my inadequate transcription abilities. I just wanted to make sure this got covered here, and I very pleased to see members of congress stepping up to have Susan Rice's back.