With congressional opposition softening, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice could find her name in contention as early as this week to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state. It's a step that may signal greater U.S. willingness to intervene in world crises during President Obama's second term. As Obama nears a decision on who should be the country's next top diplomat, Rice has emerged as the clear front-runner on a short list of candidates that many believe has been narrowed to just her and Sen. John Kerry, despite lingering questions over her comments about the deadly Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. Consulate in Libya.
According to congressional aides and administration officials, Rice will be making the rounds on Capitol Hill this week for closed-door meetings with key lawmakers whose support she will need to be confirmed. Acting CIA Director Michael Morell will join Rice in her meetings with lawmakers. Rice is scheduled to meet on Tuesday with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., her most vocal critic on Capitol Hill. She will also meet with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. McCain and Ayotte are members of the Armed Services Committee. AP