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Obama Defends Rice in Face of GOP Opposition

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Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — President Barack Obama is defending U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice in the aftermath of the deadly Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya and calling Republican criticism of her outrageous.

At a White House news conference Wednesday, Obama pushed back against GOP senators who said they would do whatever is necessary to scuttle Rice’s nomination if the president picks her to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The president said if Sen. John McCain wants to go after someone, he should challenge the president, not Rice.

“When they go after a U.N. Ambassador only because they think she’s an easy target,” Obama said, “then they’ve got a problem with me.”

McCain told reporters earlier Wednesday that he would do all he could to block a Rice nomination.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said he didn’t trust Rice.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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