Spin Cycle 

11.29.12

Ryan Lizza: Obama in a Box Over Susan Rice 


Opposition could force president’s hand on Hillary successor. 

Could President Obama be forced to name Susan Rice as his secretary of State, now that she’s under fire by Republican lawmakers?

“I wonder how this boxes Obama in,” Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker’s Washington correspondent, told me in a video interview. “Does he now have to nominate her?”

Video screenshot

Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham, among others, have denounced the U.N. ambassador for delivering false information about the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Lizza says. “She has launched a political campaign to save her reputation, to woo senators, before she’s even been nominated.”

Lizza says he wrote about Rice’s performance on Africa issues during the Clinton administration and that “she did not like it at all.” He believes that issue could resurface if she is nominated.

Lizza plays down the recent chatter by some GOP lawmakers about agreeing to raising taxes, saying they don’t represent the whole party. “They’re the guys who have been saying it for a long time, they’re just finally brave enough to say it loudly,” Lizza argues.

As for life at The New Yorker, he says the magazine’s legendary fact checkers “are like your parachute. I can’t imagine how many crises would erupt if my copy just went in the magazine.

“The problem with fact checkers is they’re so good that they make you a little lazy. You start to depend on them because they’re so good at nailing stuff down, you don’t nail down your facts.”