(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Marcia Fudge (D.-Ohio), the incoming chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, is accusing Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) of "sexism and racism" because the criticism leveled at U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice for telling the American people that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was a spontaneous reaction to a video posted on YouTube.
“There is a clear, a clear in my opinion, sexism and racism that goes with these comments that are being made by, unfortunately, Senator McCain and others,” Fudge (D-Ohio.) said Friday at a Capitol Hill press conference.
On Thursday, the Congressional Black Caucus voted unanimously to make Fudge their chair in the newly elected House of Representatives.
“And I strongly stand by that statement.”
Fudge said that Republican critics of Rice including McCain had never called a man “unqualified” or “not bright”, referring to comments he made on CBS’ This Morning program Thursday.
“All of the things that they have disliked about things that have gone on in this administration they have never called a male unqualified, not bright, not trustworthy. I don’t recall it ever happening,” Fudge said.
During the same press conference, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) said that McCain and other “men” should not be allowed to “attack” or “batter this woman” Rice.
“What unmitigated gall for these men to attack the permanent representative to the United Nations Susan E. Rice,” Moore said.
“We all understand that all of us have been disappointed in one way or another about the results of the election – but to batter this woman because they don’t feel they have had the ability to batter President Obama is something that we, the women, are not going to stand by and watch.”
Moore said that because of his criticism of Rice, she no longer considered McCain a “gentleman.”
“There was a time when I regarded Mr. McCain in particular as a gentleman. I am sad that this is not one of those moments,” she said.
Ambassador Rice is reportedly on the short list to be nominated to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State, and on Wednesday, McCain said that he “will do everything in my power to block her (Rice) from being the United States secretary of state.”
Rice stirred up controversy when she told a series of Sunday talk shows on Sept. 16 that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, five days earlier had been a “spontaneous reaction” to an online video clip denigrating the Prophet Mohammed.
U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack, which was subsequently dubbed a terrorist attack.
McCain told Fox News: “Susan Rice should have known better and if she didn’t know better, she is not qualified. She should have known better.”
Referring to Rice on “CBS This Morning,” McCain said the ambassador was, at the least, guilty of “not being very bright, because it was obvious that this was not a 'flash mob' and there was additional information by the time she went on every news show in America.”
Graham, on CBS “Face the Nation” on Sunday, had said of Rice: “I think Susan Rice would have an incredibly difficult time getting through the Senate. I would not vote for her unless there’s a tremendous opening up of information explaining herself [on Benghazi] in a way she has not yet done.”
At a White House press conference on Wednesday, President Obama said if members of Congress have a problem with the way his administration handled the aftermath of the terror attacks – blaming them on an obscure video -- they should take their complaints to him:
“If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I'm happy to have that discussion with them,” Obama said.
“But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received, and besmirch her reputation, is outrageous,” he said.
In response, Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted: “Mr. President, don’t think for one minute I don’t hold you ultimately responsible for #Benghazi.”