"Does he want to nominate someone as his secretary of state who is going to be a distraction from what arguably should be his primary focal point between now and the end of the year?" says one respected D.C.-based foreign policy expert. "I don't have any doubt he could get her confirmed."
Obama strongly defended Rice in his post-election press conference, decrying those who would "besmirch" her reputation. Democrats have also fanned out across cable networks in defense of Rice. But that hasn't stopped the partisan bickering, as a group of House Republicans sent a letter to the president on Monday expressing their opposition to Rice.
"Ambassador Rice is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi matter," said the letter signed by 97 House Republicans, which was obtained by The Hill. "Recent reports of the discrepancies between the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency's public timelines of the events on Sept. 11 only exacerbate the problem and we believe these inconsistencies deserve closer examination."
Top foreign policy officials have come under scrutiny for misleading comments based on intelligence reports in the past, most notably then-Sec. of State Colin Powell under the Bush administration for alleging that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction in the lead up to the Iraq War.
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Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter.