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NBC Applauds Obama National Security Picks, Claims Susan Rice 'Vindicated' By Benghazi Emails

On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd cheered President Obama picking Susan Rice to be his new national security advisor and nominating Samantha Power as U.N. ambassador: "They are now among the most powerful women in the American foreign policy community. Behind-the-scenes power players now front and center."

Amid soundbites of Obama praising both women, Todd joined in extolling their accomplishments: "Both come with a long list of impressive credentials. Rice, a Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar with a Ph.D. from Oxford. In 1990's she served as assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration. Power is a human rights expert and Pulitzer Prize-winning author; she's also the mother of two young children."

As for the controversial nature of both, especially Rice, Todd explained: "Confident and brash, both have had run-ins with official Washington. Most recently Rice was at the center of the Benghazi political firestorm, as Republicans tried to make her the fall-woman for the President. Power in 2008 briefly had to leave the President's side after she was quoted calling Obama's chief political rival, Hillary Clinton, 'a monster.'"

Todd failed to actually mention that "political firestorm" was the result of Rice making false statements about Benghazi. In fact, on Thursday's Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell went so far as to assert: "Rice was the President's first line of defense after the September 11th Benghazi attacks. But back then those CIA talking points cost her the nomination to be secretary of state....But the recent release of all the talking point e-mails vindicated Rice."

In no way was Rice "vindicated" by the release of the emails, which actually showed how involved the White House and State Department were in scrubbing the original CIA talking points of accurate facts regarding the Benghazi terrorist attack.

Wrapping up his Nightly News report, Todd happily concluded that despite the controversies surrounding Rice and Power, "Neither incident shook the President's confidence in either woman as both ended up with key roles in the first term. Now, the two women have the titles to match their influence."

On Wednesday's ABC World News, anchor Diane Sawyer only dedicated a short news brief to the appointment of Rice and Power:

And from Washington tonight, news about a shake-up inside the President's national security team. What's being called a, quote, "in-your-face appointment" by President Obama, tapping U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to take over as his top national security adviser. Rice was at the center of that firestorm from Republicans after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. She even withdrew her name from consideration as a candidate for secretary of state. And the President also nominated longtime advisor Samantha Power to replace Rice as U.N. ambassador.

On CBS's Evening News, correspondent Major Garrett's full report on the subject actually included a sound bite of Rice's false statements on Benghazi:

GARRETT: Susan Rice was battered for her televised description of the deadly September 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

SUSAN RICE: We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.

GARRETT: Republicans were furious she did not call it a terrorist attack and their opposition led Mr. Obama to nominate John Kerry over Rice as secretary of state.

He noted that "Mr. Obama has always considered her a trusted advisor," and added: "The President appoints his national security advisor, leaving Republicans powerless to stop Susan Rice's promotion."

On NBC's Thursday Today, Mitchell joined in Todd's heralding of the appointments: "...high-profile appointments in an administration sometimes assailed for its mostly male inner circle. All the President's women, Samantha Power for the U.N., and replacing Tom Donilon as national security advisor, Susan Rice."

The report lead with a sound bite of Obama remarking on Rice having "a great tennis game and a pretty good basketball game."

After a couple sound bites of Republican lawmakers critical of Rice, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic was featured to thumb his nose at them: "It was only a few months ago that John McCain and Lindsey Graham were trying to bury Susan Rice's career. And today she is arguably about to become the most important national security figure in the President's universe."

Neither ABC's Good Morning America nor CBS This Morning on Thursday included any coverage of the appointments of Rice and Power.

On Wednesday, all three morning shows touted how the White House was trying to stick it to Republicans with Rice's appointment:

NBC's Todd: GOP Using Susan Rice as 'Punching Bag,' Shouldn't Be 'Beating Up on Women'

ABC Lauds 'Hard-Nosed,' 'No-Nonsense' Susan Rice, Obama's New Nat'l Security Adviser

Susan Rice's Questionable Role in Benghazi Aftermath Now a Passing Detail For CBS

Here is a full transcript Todd's June 5 Nightly News report:

7:10PM ET

BRIAN WILLIAMS: The President did announce a big personnel shift today. Susan Rice becomes the new national security adviser. There is a replacement for her as ambassador to the U.N. Our chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd has the story.
 
CHUCK TODD: They are now among the most powerful women in the American foreign policy community. Behind-the-scenes power players now front and center.

BARACK OBAMA: I'm very, very proud to have had the privilege of working with Tom, very proud that I will continue to have the privilege of working with Samantha and with Susan.

TODD: Susan Rice, ambassador to the U.N. for four years, taking over as the President's national security adviser.

OBAMA: I think everybody understands Susan is a fierce champion for justice and human dignity, but she's also mindful that we have to exercise our power wisely and deliberately.
 
TODD: Samantha Power, replacing rice at the U.N. has been an influential behind-the-scenes advisor in the West Wing as part of the National Security Council.

OBAMA: She knows the U.N.'s strengths. She knows its weaknesses. She knows American interests are advanced when we can rally the world to our side and she knows we have to stand up for the things we believe in.

TODD: Both come with a long list of impressive credentials. Rice, a Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar with a Ph.D. from Oxford. In 1990's she served as assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration. Power is a human rights expert and Pulitzer Prize-winning author; she's also the mother of two young children.

SAMANTHA POWER:  We have a critical role to play in meeting the necessities of our time. It can do so only with American leadership.

TODD: Confident and brash, both have had run-ins with official Washington. Most recently Rice was at the center of the Benghazi political firestorm, as Republicans tried to make her the fall woman for the President. Power in 2008 briefly had to leave the President's side after she was quoted calling Obama's chief political rival, Hillary Clinton, "a monster." Neither incident shook the President's confidence in either woman as both ended up with key roles in the first term. Now, the two women have the titles to match their influence.

Of the two appointees, only power is subject to senate confirmation. Already, Republican senator John McCain this afternoon said he's supportive of Power's nomination.

WILLIAMS: Chuck Todd at the White House for us tonight. Chuck, thanks.