U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, a close ally of President Barack Obama on foreign affairs since early in the 2008 campaign, is among the short list of names being circulated to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State.
GOP Senators also remain immensely frustrated with the State Department’s handling of the Libya affair and the agency’s resistance to sharing information with Capitol Hill, according to a Republican Senate staffer. The State Department has been hesitant about releasing information while an independent review it authorized is under way, though it has started releasing some documents and will brief the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next week.
Rice’s nomination, the aide said this week, would give Republicans an opportunity to retaliate for the administration stonewalling.
“If they were to trot out Rice’s nomination, Republicans are pissed enough right now, they may take her as a scalp,” said the aide, whose boss sits on a committee investigating the Benghazi attacks.
It all adds up to a highly combustible confirmation fight that the White House may prefer to avoid.
In contrast, another top possibility for secretary of State — Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry, (D-Mass.) — would likely have a smooth path to confirmation.
While aides predict a number of Republicans would vote against him, he is also likely to win a smattering of GOP votes and not face the sort of blockade that Rice almost certainly would.