Has President Obama already screwed up his second term? Less than a month after reelection he has made a mess for himself by insisting on choosing a new Secretary of State, Susan Rice, who cannot seem to explain away her prevarications about Benghazi. Rice’s calling card for the job is that the President likes her. But that’s where it stops. Obama might want to consider persuading Hillary to stay in the job.
It seems as if it would have been simple enough for Rice to quickly admit that the administration talking points she used on the Sept. 16 Sunday shows about the slaughter in Benghazi were misleading. But she went silent. She has no wartime consigliere and, aside from the president’s angry postelection defense of Rice, the White House — perhaps relieved that she was taking the heat rather than the president — wasn’t running a strong damage control operation that clarified matters. — Maureen Dowd