Despite becoming the butt of jokes for his concerns about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Senator John McCain got his way -- U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice told NBC News she's taking herself out of the running for the secretary of state post.
In a letter to President Obama, Rice explained that if she were nominated to be the next secretary of state, her confirmation would probably be a "lengthy, disruptive and costly" process.
-John McCain Royally Clowned on Benghazi by Jon Stewart: Remember the WMD
-John McCain's Getting Clowned for His Latest Complaint About the Benghazi Situation
-John McCain's Theory of Obama Misleading Public on Benghazi May Be in the Toilet
-John McCain Has Officially Made President Obama Angry Over the Benghazi Ordeal
That process would have been complicated by folks like McCain, who declared on Fox News, "I will do everything in my power to block her from being the United States secretary of state."
McCain's blamed the White House and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's initial comments that the September 11 attack on the consulate was "spontaneous," and McCain has floated the idea of a White House "coverup" pretty heavily.
It turns out that the phrases "attack," "Al Qaeda" and "terrorism" were plucked from the talking points Rice used by officials from the Director of National Intelligence's office, according to a CNN report that was been confirmed by other national media outlets.
McCain issued a statement shortly after that, acknowledging that this was being reported, but he never really appeared to buy into the notion.
"I am somewhat surprised and frustrated to read reports that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was responsible for removing references to Al-Qaeda from the unclassified talking points about the Benghazi attack that Ambassador Susan Rice and other officials used in the early days after September 11, 2012," McCain's statement said.
McCain's spokesman didn't return New Times' e-mail at the time to clear up whether the Senator actually believed it.
At what point McCain conjures up this great outrage isn't clear. For the point-by-point details of the whole saga between McCain and Rice, the Washington Post has a great analysis, along with the accompanying timeline.
There are plenty of theories out there on why McCain would go on a personal/political crusade against Susan Rice, but, assuming that plays no role, McCain's outrage doesn't make complete sense.
For example, just a month ago, CNN's Anderson Cooper asked about Rice just following the talking points from the intelligence community.
McCain responded, as if it were fact, "First of all, the talking points came from the White House, not the [Director of National Intelligence]."
The same exact day, McCain also appeared on Fox, and said of Rice, "She has proven that she either doesn't understand or she is not willing to accept evidence on its face."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
There are, indeed, unanswered questions about the reaction to the Benghazi attack. But how that leads McCain to crucify Rice, we couldn't tell you.
We do know, though, that McCain won.
According to the NBC News report on Rice withdrawing her name from consideration for the secretary of state spot, President Obama has accepted Rice's decision.