President Obama's National Security Adviser Susan Rice went on the defensive Friday morning for her Bowe Bergdahl comments after CNN's Jim Acosta asked if she was guided "too much" by talking points.
On location in France for ceremonies honoring the soldiers who invaded the beaches of Normandy in World War II, Acosta asked Rice to clarify the comment she made on ABC Sunday that Sgt. Bergdahl served with "honor and distinction." Rice said, "I realize there's been a lot of discussion and controversy around this but what I was referring to is the fact that this was a young man who volunteered to serve his country in uniform at a time of war. That is itself a very honorable thing."
Acosta, unsatisfied with her response, pressed, "But honor and distinction?" This irked Rice and she responded:
Jim, really, this is a young man whose circumstances we are still going to learn about. He is, as all Americans, innocent until proven guilty. He's now being tried in the court of public opinion after having gone through enormously traumatic five years of captivity -- his parents, the same. I think what we need to care most about is his health and well-being and recovery. There'll be an opportunity, and the military has committed to review the circumstances of his capture. If there is a consequence that results from that, that will be delivered. But in the meantime, let's remember this is a young man who volunteered to serve his country. He was taken as a prisoner of war. He suffered in captivity. He's now trying to begin the process of recovery. Let's let that happen and then know the facts, including his side of the story, and then we can make a judgment.
Acosta persisted, taking the opportunity to remind Rice that her Bergdahl comments and appearances on the Sunday talk shows were eerily similar to those on Benghazi. He asked an increasingly perturbed Rice if she is "guided by talking points too much." Rice insisted that she is just a public servant who was provided with "wrong information" and not a liar:
Acosta: After Benghazi, you blamed that attack on an anti-Muslim video and of course you know you've become sort of a GOP lightning rod. You've been accused by Republican critics of being fast and loose with the facts during some of these Sunday talk show appearances. Are you being upfront with the American people or are you being guided by talking points too much when you go on these programs?
Rice: Jim, I'm upfront with the American people and I always do my best on behalf of my country and I do my best until [sic] the facts as we know them. In the case of Bowe Bergdahl, for me to condemn him without any opportunity for him to have the chance to tell his side of the story without any due process that we accord any American, that would be inherently unfair. Similarly with Benghazi, as had been recounted on many occasions, I provided the best information that the U.S. government had at the time. Parts of it turned out to be wrong. I regret that the information I was provided was wrong and that I delivered to the American people. That doesn't make me a liar. That makes me a public servant trying to say what we knew at the time. And when I gave that information, I caveated it and noted that it was what we knew then and there but it could well change.
That portion of the interview can be viewed below via CNN: