Moderate GOP senator expresses concerns about Rice

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WASHINGTON — A moderate Republican senator crucial to any White House hopes of getting U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice confirmed as secretary of state said today that there are still lingering unanswered questions about the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Libya.

Emerging from a 95-minute, closed-door meeting with Rice, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she would need more information before she could consider backing the ambassador if President Barack Obama tapped her to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

At issue is Rice’s much-maligned explanation for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Rice blamed the attack on a spontaneous demonstration to an anti-Muslim video rather than terrorism.

Meanwhile, Collins said that Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., would have a smooth path to confirmation if Obama chose him over Rice for the State Department job.

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