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U.N. Ambassador Rice treks to Capitol Hill

Nov. 27, 2012 at 6:47 AM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice heads to Capitol Hill to meet with key lawmakers to answer questions about her comments on the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya.

Senate aides said Rice, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, was to meet with Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire to discuss her statements regarding what happened Sept. 11 at the outpost in Benghazi when she appeared on several television talk shows the following Sunday, The Washington Post reported.

Rice's office requested the meeting, aides said.

McCain, Graham, Ayotte and other Republicans have been critical of Rice for her initial response. U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly is considering nominating the U.N. ambassador to be his next secretary of state.

While other senators have softened their positions on a potential Rice nomination, Ayotte told the Post Monday her opposition to Rice's nomination remains firm unless she believes Rice has given a full accounting of the attack in which Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other diplomatic staff members died.

"I would hold the [Rice] nomination until I got sufficient answers," Ayotte said.

Rice is expected to meet with U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, another critic, and possibly other members of Congress later in the week, congressional aides said.

Republican criticism of Rice has raised the hackles of Democrats, who have said the GOP is making Rice a scapegoat for the administration's response to the attack. Obama offered a feisty defense of her actions during a news conference after the 2012 elections.

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