National Security Advisor Susan Rice disputed Republican critiques of President Obama's foreign policy by arguing that "political polarization" accounts for the "one weakness" of American strength in international affairs.

"The one weakness that our friends and partners point to and the one thing that undermines our strength around the world is our political polarization," Rice said during an event hosted by the Women's Foreign Policy Group.

Rice didn't mention Republicans specifically, but cited policy fights that they have provoked, such as over budget issues.

"When countries look at us, they wonder and they worry if we will have our collective internal act together -- whether it's over our budget, whether it's over how we engage in the world," she said. "That is what undermines us, if anything, in terms of our international standing."

When PBS's Judy Woodruff suggested that polarization reflected "the strength" of American democracy, Rice disagreed.

"We've had the democracy for 230+ years, it hasn't always been as dysfunctional as it can be now," Rice countered.

Earlier in the conversation, Rice laughed off the suggestion made by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who said that the United States should send special operations forces to rescue the Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram even if that nation's government disapproves.

"To the extent that they make requests of us or others to provide support, we're open to entertaining those," she said after a pause.