Rice fails again to ease Senate criticism

UN Ambassador Susan Rice leaves a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 28. UN Ambassador Susan Rice leaves a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 28. Evan Vucci/AP
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has failed to ease the concerns of Senate Republicans she met with this week, which could hinder a potential nomination as Secretary of State.

On Wednesday, Rice met with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who said she was “troubled” following their discussion, echoing what Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte said on Tuesday.

“I continue to be troubled by the fact that the U.N. ambassador decided to play what was essentially a political role at the height of a contentious presidential election campaign by agreeing to go on the Sunday shows to present the administration's position,” Collins, who is regarded as a moderate, said on the Hill.

Alluding to Rice’s previous position as the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under the Clinton administration, Collins drew parallels to the 1998 terrorist attacks at several U.S. embassies in East Africa. She said there were “eerie” parallels to the attack in Benghazi.

“In both cases, the ambassador begged for additional security,” Collins said, adding, “And those requests, as in the case of Benghazi, were turned down by the State Department.”

While she is still set to meet with Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., later on Wednesday, Republican criticism of her actions could block her potential nomination as a successor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Collins said she “would need to have additional information before I could support her nomination.”

Asked about Sen. John Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, she said she could support his nomination to State.

“I think John Kerry would be an excellent appointment and would be easily confirmed by his colleagues,” she said.
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