Sticky Rice: U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice Faces Growing Opposition

A second day of meetings with Republican senators raises new questions.

Posted: 11/29/2012 10:37 AM EST

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has not yet been nominated to become the next secretary of state, but she may already be cooked. After a second round of meetings with senators on Capitol Hill, Rice not only failed to win them over, but she left them with more questions.

In an unexpected turn, the reliably moderate Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins expressed concern about Rice's record as assistant secretary for African Affairs when two U.S. embassies in Africa were bombed in 1998.

"What troubles me so much is the Benghazi attack in many ways echoes the attacks on those embassies in 1998, when Susan Rice was head of the African region for our State Department," Collins told reporters after their meeting. "In both cases, the ambassadors begged for additional security."

The senator also suggested that Rice's appearance on a series of talk shows, when she provided what later turned out to be a faulty account of the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, was politically motivated.

"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 the contentious presidential election campaign, by agreeing to go on the Sunday shows to present the administration's position," Collins said.

Both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke in support of Rice late Wednesday after her unsuccessful visit to Capitol Hill. At the start of his cabinet meeting, the president proclaimed her "extraordinary." Clinton later weighed in on her potential successor, saying that Rice "has done a great job as our ambassador to the United Nations."

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(Photo: AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

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