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Congress: Another tough day for Rice

National Journal notes: “U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has failed to ease the concerns of Senate Republicans she met with this week, which could hinder a potential nomination as Secretary of State.”

Yesterday, it was Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Corker (R-TN), who appeared no less critical after meeting with Rice.

National Journal has a graphic explaining the moving parts in Obama’s national security team.

Politico contends: “In just two quick meetings on Capitol Hill, Susan Rice may have blown up any goodwill she had with the very senators she’ll need for confirmation if she’s ever tapped as the next secretary of state. … It’s not clear what Rice said behind closed doors to anger all these senators, but it’s obvious the meetings went badly and this was hardly a nominee-in-waiting charm offensive. … [O]ne GOP senator told Politico Wednesday that McCain, Graham and Ayotte were so incensed after their powwow with Rice because they felt she was not being straight or candid with them about Benghazi.”

But, not so fast, The Hill writes: “Susan Rice’s bridge-building visit to Capitol Hill this week left Republicans divided on her possible nomination as secretary of State. While some Republicans appear outright opposed to Rice replacing Hillary Clinton, there are enough GOP senators who are open to voting for her. Should President Obama nominate her, Rice would need only a handful of GOP votes to overcome a filibuster if all Democrats back her… Privately, some Republicans say they'd prefer to avoid a bitter political fight over Rice, an African-American woman who is viewed as qualified and competent.”

For one, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) on CNN called Rice a “very smart, very intelligent woman” who's been “upfront,” adding that “you don't want to shoot the messenger.”

More: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not made Rice a top priority. That is an early signal that the GOP conference will not go to the mat to thwart a Rice nomination.”

Similarly, McConnell’s office did not express the outrage at a potential Rice nomination in the same way McCain, Graham, and Ayotte have, and it deferred when asked by First Read if the minority leader would go along with a filibuster if Rice is nominated.

McConnell “typically doesn’t take positions on the nominations of people who haven’t even been nominated—or had their hearings, etc.,” McConnell spokesman Don Stewart told First Read.