House Women Mock McCain for Naval Academy Grades, Choice of Sarah Palin

By Matt Cover | November 16, 2012 | 1:30 PM EST

FILE - In this March 28, 2012 file photo, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

( At a press conference of female House Democrats pushing back against Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) criticism of Ambassador Susan Rice’s false explanation of the Benghazi terror attack, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) mocked McCain’s choice of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) as his running mate in 2008.

“It’s very difficult to recruit qualified women, and Sen. McCain should know that,” Moore said at a Capitol Hill press conference Friday, prompting laughter from the other women members on the stage.

Several female House Democrats held a press conference to defend Rice from criticism made by McCain and other Republicans over her false explanations of the terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Marsha Fudge (D-Ohio) accused Rice’s GOP critics of having sour grapes after the party’s loss in the 2012 presidential election, mocking McCain for finishing near the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy. McCain, the son and grandson of famous admirals, has admitted not taking his academic studies very seriously while at the academy.

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“I know when you lose you get angry,” Fudge said at a Capitol Hill press conference Friday. “I know when you lose sometimes you’re disappointed, but don’t take it out on somebody who didn’t have anything to do with your loss.

“How do you say that a person with Susan Rice’s background is not qualified? I wonder what your qualifications are for your job. Where did you finish in your class? I know one of them finished in the bottom of their class. Susan Rice was a Rhodes Scholar. How do you say a person like Susan Rice is not qualified? You may not like her, you may not like the administration, but don’t say she’s not qualified.” Fudge added.

McCain has led the criticism of Rice, who was the Obama administration’s appointed spokesperson in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks in Benghazi. Rice gave interviews to several network and cable news shows describing the attacks as spontaneous demonstrations sparked by an anti-Islam video posted on YouTube.

That explanation has proved to be false, however, and McCain and other critics have accused Rice of misleading the public by pointing to an explanation that they say was obviously false.

“[I]t was obvious that this was not a ‘flash mob.’ There was no demonstration,” McCain said Thursday on CBS’ “This Morning.” “And there was additional information by the time she [Rice] went on every news show, Sunday show in America.”

In the same interview, McCain accused Rice of “being not very bright” for describing an attack perpetrated by heavily armed terrorists as a spontaneous reaction to a YouTube video.

Democrats have defended Rice by saying that she was simply relaying the best information available at the time. At a news conference Wednesday, President Obama said that McCain and other critics should leave Rice alone because she had nothing to do with administration policy in Benghazi.

“As I’ve said before, she made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her.  If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me,” Obama said at the White House.