Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) told Fox News Sunday that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice could change his mind after she explains her statements on the September 11 attack to the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the dead of four Americans — including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
"Sure. She can — I'd give everyone the benefit of explaining their position and the actions that they took," McCain replied when asked if Rice could reverse his opposition. "I'd be glad to have the opportunity to discuss these issues with her," he added.
The statements are a reverse of the position the senator, and 2008 Republican presidential nominee, held earlier when Rice erroneously stated that the attack on the American post in Benghazi was a spontaneous event caused by a mob angered at the anti-Islam YouTube video The Innocence of Muslims.
Rice, a potential candidate to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, had been dismissed by McCain and other prominent Republicans as "not qualified" for the cabinet position because of what the GOP said were "misleading" statements regarding the Libya attack.
McCain had vowed to oppose Rice's nomination as secretary of state, while President Obama — who claimed not to have made any decisions regarding new potential members of his cabinet — defended Rice by saying he'd nominate her despite Republican opposition.
McCain's shift may have been motivated by Democratic lawmakers who framed the GOP's opposition to Rice as an attack on an African American woman. The comments are likely to resonate among voters, as the 2012 election resulted in the most diverse congress ever with the most female senators in history (most of whom come from the Democratic Party).
Rice, perhaps aware of her potential as a viable candidate to replace Secretary Clinton, has also struck a conciliatory tone towards her potential GOP detractors. She said that she respected McCain and "looked forward to having the chance to discuss the Benghazi situation with him."
To which McCain responded: "I think she deserves the ability and the opportunity to explain herself and her position, just as she said."