Sounds like Condi Rice was in way over her head (again) in the Senate today.
Republican senators criticized the Bush administration Wednesday over its policies in Iraq, Iran and the Palestinian territories, as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s first testimony on Capitol Hill in months exposed her to a tough grilling from some members of her own party.
“I don’t see, Madame Secretary, how things are getting better. I think things are getting worse. I think they’re getting worse in Iraq. I think they’re getting worse in Iran,” Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., told Rice as she appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Rice also had a tense exchange with moderate Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., over the pace of progress toward Israeli-Palestinian peace and the implications of the Hamas victory in Palestinian legislative elections last month.
At one point, Rice and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., interrupted one another as they argued about U.S. policy in the Middle East, where the Democrat accused the Bush administration of having a “tin ear” to Arab views.
Boxer, who was one of Rice’s most persistent critics during a contentious confirmation process last year, also recalled Rice’s warning before the 2003 Iraq invasion that the world could not afford to let the “smoking gun” of Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction become a “mushroom cloud.”
“That was a farce and the truth is coming out,” Boxer said.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., challenged Rice over whether she was involved in leaking classified information. “I have always acted lawfully,” Rice said.
And, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, top Democrat on the panel, said “I’m not hopeful” of a unity government in Iraq.
“The policy seems not to be succeeding,” he said.