The female House members argued that Rice would have no motivation to mislead the American people.
The Democratic women also contrasted McCain and Graham's criticism with their defense of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who had warned of weapons of mass destruction in pressing for war in Iraq that killed more than 4,400 Americans. No weapons of mass destruction were found.
"It's interesting to me that we're not discussing another Rice who went before all of the Sunday talk shows some years ago," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.
The Democratic women demanded that McCain and Graham retract their criticism.
"It is a shame that anytime something goes wrong, they pick on women and minorities," Fudge said.
Said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.: "We will not allow a brilliant public servant's record to be mugged to cut off her consideration to be secretary of state."
Associated Press writer Rob Gillies in Halifax, Nova Scotia, contributed to this report.
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