Susan Rice's 'Benghazi baggage,' F-bombs would make her 'lightning rod' as Biden VP pick, writer claims

Former Obama aide could become a distraction as Biden tries to reach voters, columnist says

Former national security adviser Susan Rice would be a “human lightning rod” if selected to be Democrat Joe Biden’s running mate, a Washington Post columnist wrote Friday.

Rice, who is reported to be among the shrinking list of Biden vice presidential contenders, has the advantage of a longstanding close relationship with the former vice president, unlike any of the other names on the list.

But Biden's want for “familiarity and comfort” are luxuries the nation doesn’t have time for in this singular time of crisis, Post columnist Dana Milbank writes.

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Despite Rice’s impressive resume -- Rhodes scholar, Oxford, U.N ambassador, national security adviser -- she has serious Benghazi baggage and a polarizing ability to make fast enemies. She had to withdraw from consideration as former President Barack Obama's secretary of state because she was unlikely to get the Senate confirmation votes, Milbank writes.

If she joined the Biden ticket, Milbank writes, she would be a distraction for the Democrats in a time when voters want calm -- and would be an easy target for Republicans.

Then-national security adviser Susan Rice listens to reporters questions during a news briefing at the White House in Washington, March 21, 2014. (Associated Press)

Then-national security adviser Susan Rice listens to reporters questions during a news briefing at the White House in Washington, March 21, 2014. (Associated Press)

“It’d be a good move for Republicans,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., agreed last week. “I don’t think she’ll wear well over time.”

History of rudeness

Milbank notes that Rice has been known to be unpleasant in interpersonal situations.

"Her F-bombs are legend," he writes, and has rarely refrained from using other rude language or gestures when criticizing political opponents.

She once referred to Graham as a "piece of sh--," during a popular podcast, and once raised her middle finger to Richard Holbrooke, a former U.S. diplomat who died in 2010, Milbank recounts.

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But the author says he was more concerned about Rice after hearing hesitancy to support her from among her former Obama administration colleagues.

“It was the latest reminder that Rice has a history of turning allies and opponents alike into enemies,” he writes.

Never ran for office

Rice is also the only serious candidate for the position who hasn’t run for elected office.

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Milbank concludes that Biden should make use of her experience if he wins the White House – just not as vice president.

“Biden’s greatest appeal is the hope of relief he offers from government-by-insult and rule-by-rage,” he adds. “He shouldn’t squander it.”

Biden said Tuesday he will announce his running mate this week.

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Biden has pledged to choose a woman as his running mate and is vetting several women of color as racial injustice protests continue across the country.

Other women in consideration include Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Duckworth and Rep. Karen Bass.