United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice is set to meet GOP critics on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to discuss her statements on the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in September, which left four Americans dead.
The meeting comes as the White House has indicated that Rice is a possible nominee to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, USA Today reported. Some Republican senators, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona, said they may oppose her nomination because she should have known her statements on the Sept. 11 attack were misleading.
On Tuesday, Rice is meeting with McCain, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, according to NBC News. All three have criticized Rice for attributing the attack on the consulate to violence stemming from an anti-Islamic video that was circulating on YouTube.
That theory was provided to her in "talking points" prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency, but conflicted with intelligence gathered by the CIA after the event.
President Barack Obama has defended Rice spiritedly in the aftermath. White House spokesman Jay Carney did not confirm on Monday whether Rice would be nominated for the secretary of state position, but he said she would be a good candidate, according to USA Today.
"Ambassador Rice has done an excellent job at the United Nations and is highly qualified for any number of positions," said Carney.
McCain said Tuesday's meeting was called upon Rice's request. Asked about McCain's criticism of her, Rice said, "I do believe some of the statements he has made about me are unfounded and I look forward at the appropriate time to have a chance to respond," according to NBC News.
McCain had said on Fox News Sunday, "I’d give everyone the benefit of explaining their position and the actions that they took. I’d be glad to have the opportunity to discuss these issues with her," The Washington Post noted.
Ayotte said on Nov. 26, "I would hold the [Rice] nomination until I got sufficient answers," according to The Post.
The Wall Street Journal noted that Rice will be accompanied by acting director of the CIA Michael Morell. Though the White House later acknowledged that the attack had been a terrorist attack, Rice said last week that she had relied "solely and squarely" on information from the US intelligence community when she spoke on TV following the attacks.
Besides Rice, Sen. John Kerry is also a possible nominee for the secretary of state position.