Last week, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice met with some of her top detractors in the Senate — including Republican Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte, and Bob Corker — and apparently failed to win their confidence that she would be an effective secretary of state.
But New York Times columnist David Brooks said Rice’s meeting with Republican Sen. Susan Collins might have been most damning.
“We don’t really know what happened in those meetings,” Brooks said on Friday’s broadcast of “NewsHour” on PBS. “The crucial one was with the moderate Republican Susan Collins of Maine, who is a very careful, very thoughtful and very moderate in temperament and in philosophy. And she had a 75-minute meeting with Susan Rice and came out sounding more doubtful than before. So I don’t know what happened in that meeting. I think the essence of this thing — and I’m guessing from the body language — is the politics. People think she’s too political, too partisan.”
Brooks said that as secretary of state, Rice would have to be an effective negotiator — a skill she did not demonstrate with Collins.
“The job of the secretary of state is to go into a room with somebody, have a meeting and get somewhere. And if she couldn’t get somewhere with Susan Collins, then that is a little bit of a problem.”
Brooks’ co-panelist on “NewsHour,” Creators Syndicate columnist Mark Shields, said Rice should have met with politicians who are more supportive of her handling of the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attack.
“What struck me was the administration has really handled this badly,” Shields said. “I mean, you don’t send her up to the Hill to meet with people unless you’re going have some friendly meetings too. You are going to have some positive people come out and say — Claire McCaskill, I don’t care, Amy Klobuchar — say how wonderful she is.”
“Where are the endorsers of her? I haven’t heard from Madeleine Albright. I haven’t heard from Hillary Clinton. She is just kind of out there by herself, which may be a message in itself.”