U.S. Ambassador Rice to meet GOP leaders - FOX 35 News Orlando

U.S. Ambassador Rice to meet GOP leaders

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WASHINGTON -

Susan Rice is hardly a lock to replace current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but the fact that she's coming to Capitol Hill Tuesday, meeting with Republicans, shows that there is strong likelihood she may be nominated.

Rice is no stranger to delicate diplomacy, but even her tenure as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations may be put to test in the halls of Congress.

She'll be meeting with some of her fiercest critics, including Senator John McCain who appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor" Monday night.

"Don't we all have a responsibility before we go out and talk to the American people, on all five Sunday morning shows for verifying that those facts are true," he said.

That is a reference to Rice's controversial assertions after the U.S. Consulate attack in Libya back in September.  She claimed it was the result of a street protest that spun out of control -- that has now been largely discredited.

Some Republicans think Rice was intentionally downplaying the role of terrorists to help the President win re-election.  He would staunchly defend her.

"If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody they should go after me," said President Obama.

Current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made no secret of the fact that she plans to step down soon.  And while there has long been talk that Massachusetts Senator John Kerry was a likely replacement, more and more signs now point to Rice -- although the White House remains cagey about a nomination.

"Ambassador Rice has done an excellent job at the UN, and is highly qualified for any number of positions in foreign policy arena. I'll leave it at that," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

But there is some downside for the White House with a Rice nomination, even if she's confirmed.  She would have to answer some very tough questions about what the White House really knew about the Libya attack.

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