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November 28, 2012

President Obama on Susan Rice: "Couldn't be prouder"

President Obama today offered an unqualified boost to Susan Rice, the UN ambassador under fire from Republicans for her appearance on several Sunday TV talk shows after the Sept. 11 attack in Libya.

"Susan Rice is extraordinary," Obama said in response to a question shouted at him before a Cabinet meeting. "I couldn't be prouder of the job she's done."

Obama's remarks come after Rice's second closed door meeting with Republican senators, including Maine's Susan Collins, who told reporters she was troubled by Rice's remarks.

Press Secretary Jay Carney earlier dismissed what he called an "obsessive focus" on Rice's TV appearance, calling it "misplaced and misguided." He said she was using "unclassified talking points that were developed by the intelligence community, and provided not just to her, not just to the executive branch, but to the legislative branch. And they represented the best assessment by our intelligence professionals about what had happened in Benghazi at that time."

Obama was meeting with the full Cabinet for the first time since the election, and noted what he characterized as a historic lack of cabinet turnover in his first term.

He said they'd discuss "making sure people get the help that they need" in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and reiterated earlier statements that he was open to a "fair and balanced" solution to averting a pending fiscal crisis.

Obama also wished both Secretary Shinseki and Secretary Napolitano happy birthday. Gen. Shinseki's birthday is today, while Napolitano's is tomorrow. 

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