United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice. (Photo credit TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
David Jackson, USA TODAY
In perhaps another sign she will soon be nominated for Secretary of State, United Nations ambassador Susan Rice meets Tuesday with outspoken Senate Republican critics.
Rice will discuss the administration's reaction to the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, with GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.
The three Republicans have criticized Rice for initially saying the Benghazi consulate attack -- including the killings of U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans -- resulted from the protest of an anti-Islam film; the administration later attributed the attack to a pre-planned terrorist operation.
Rice, who requested the meeting with McCain, said she had relied on talking points provided by intelligence agencies.
The meeting takes place amid signs that Obama may nominate Rice to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is expected to announce her retirement soon.
While Rice has drawn fire from Republicans, there would be little they could do to derail her nomination because Democrats control the Senate.
CBS News, which broke the story of the meeting between Rice and Republican senators, notes:
"In recent days, top Republicans have seemed to soften their criticism. McCain said on Fox News Sunday that he could change his mind about blocking her potential nomination, saying he would 'give everyone the benefit of explaining their position and the actions that they took.'
"He added that Rice is 'not the problem.' Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. -- who last week called Rice 'so disconnected to reality I don't trust her' -- said Sunday he places the blame for the account on 'the president above all others' and declined to say outright he would oppose Rice's nomination to become Secretary of State.
"Rice will be accompanied by acting CIA Director Mike Morell ..."