McCain softens stance on Rice nomination

WASHINGTON — The top Republican to oppose a nomination of Susan Rice as new secretary of state softened his opposition and said Sunday he was open to hearing her explain why she declared the burning of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was part of a protest rather than a terrorist attack.

“I’d give everyone the benefit of explaining their position and the actions that they took,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I’d be glad to have the opportunity to discuss these issues with her.”

Also Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a critic of how the administration handled fallout from the Benghazi attack, said President Barack Obama more than Rice is responsible for her television comments claiming the Sept. 11 Libyan attack was a spontaneous eruption from protesters angry over an anti-Islam video.