"You don't want to get in the way of her and whether that's a point to her advantage or a point against her, well, I guess it depends on who you are asking," Lynch said.
In the days following the September 11 attacks on the Benghazi consulate that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, Rice became the administration's point person on the matter. In multiple TV appearances after that attack, Rice cited a hateful video that fueled a spontaneous mob attack as the reason for the deaths.
Senior U.S. officials have said that Rice's comments were based on an intelligence assessment that was later updated to reflect a preliminary view that demonstrators were not the culprits.
The most strident Republicans suggested the characterization of the attack as a mob gone awry might have been the basis for a cover-up during a ferocious political campaign.
Criticism intensified as the explanation of events slowly shifted with the administration eventually raising the possibility that the attack was planned by al Qaeda.
Some leading Senate Republicans said they could not support Rice if Obama nominated her to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. While Obama has not indicated who he might appoint, White House sources have said that Rice is a top candidate.
Rice did little to quell criticism of her on Tuesday following a meeting with the toughest critics over Benghanzi - Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.
The session, called by Rice to answer questions about her comments, ended up with the lawmakers saying they were "significantly troubled" by many of her answers.
Graham said Rice's comments amounted to a "statement disconnected from reality" and that his concerns about Rice "are greater today than they were before."
McCain said the "information that she gave the American people was incorrect."
In a statement following the meeting, which also included Acting CIA Director Michael Morrell, Rice said the two stressed that, "neither I nor anyone else in the administration intended to mislead the American people at any stage in this process, and the administration updated Congress and the American people as our assessments evolved."
Rice's biggest defender is Obama, who called out her critics at a news conference earlier this month.
"Susan Rice, she has done exemplary work. She has represented the United States and our interests in the United Nations with skill, and professionalism, and toughness, and grace," Obama said.