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Page 3 Profile: Susan Rice, American diplomat

Any relation to Condi?

No, but she does want the job formerly held by George W Bush's right-hand woman, Condoleezza Rice. Currently US ambassador to the UN, she is the favourite to bag the Secretary of State job after Hillary Clinton's departure. Clinton, as a Democrat grandee with unrivalled relationships with the world's heads of state, will be a tough act to follow – and Rice has already encountered some opposition to taking the role.

From within the party?

Some Democrat sympathisers have claimed Rice's "bull-in-a-china-shop" reputation makes her unsuited to a diplomatic position. But it is the GOP that has provided the loudest denunciation. Some 97 House Republicans signed a letter to the White House saying she had lost credibility in the wake of the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in September. After a CIA briefing, she wrongly claimed the deaths of four Americans in Libya were the result of spontaneous action over a film critical of Islam, rather than the work of terrorists.

Is this fatal to her job hopes?

You suspect not. In fact, Republican dislike of Ms Rice could make her appointment all the more likely. The rest of the 48-year-old's record inspires confidence. She excelled at high school, and attended Stanford and Oxford. During Clinton's administration, she worked as the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

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