FILE - This April 14, 2012 file photo shows U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice speaking at U.N. headquarters. With congressional opposition softening, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice could find her name in contention as early as this week to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state. Her nomination to the top Cabinet job could signal the  potential for a more robust intervention in world crises in President Barack Obama’s second term.  (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)

Obama throws Rice at media, distracts reporters from White House silence on Egypt

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

White House officials have reignited the post-Benghazi furor over a low-budget anti-Islam YouTube video just as President Barack Obama’s signature Muslim-outreach strategy is facing a disastrous and humiliating collapse on global TV.

The Obama administration stepped up its rope-a-dope media tactic Nov. 27 and Nov. 28 when White House officials pushed U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice back out in front of the media’s cameras.

That action drew the media’s attention away from Egypt and towards Rice, a telegenic, African-American woman who now faces dramatic GOP criticism for her actions on Sept. 16, seven weeks before the 2012 election.

She visited five Sunday talk shows that day, claiming jihadis’ shocking destruction of two U.S. facilities at Benghazi, and the death of four Americans, were caused by Muslims angry over the video, which mocked the Muslim prophet Muhammad. (RELATED: Obama campaign team defends Susan Rice on Benghazi cover-up)

Her claim immediately redirected major media outlets’ collective attention away from Obama’s Arab-region policies, which had allowed various jihadi groups to congregate in Libya and Egypt.

Without Rice as a distraction, the media’s attention to Arab turmoil could have undermined Obama’s campaign-trail reminders that he had ordered the successful killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011.