President Obama offered praise for his embattled and "extraordinary" ambassador to the U.N. on Wednesday.
"Susan Rice is extraordinary. I couldn't be prouder of the job she's done," Obama said shortly before he was poised to meet with his Cabinet.
The room — which included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, seated next to the president — erupted in applause after the president made the statement. Rice has been widely rumored as a top candidate to replace Clinton, who is resigning at the end of the president's first term.
Rice has come under fire from congressional Republicans for interviews she gave shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya. In her initial statements, Rice tied the violence, which left four Americans dead, to protests over an anti-Islam YouTube video.
Rice said Tuesday that she had been wrong about the cause of the violence, but was relying on talking points provided by the intelligence community and did not intend to mislead the public. But some high-level Senate Republicans, including John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), said that after meeting with Rice on Tuesday, they remained skeptical of her explanation and would not likely support her potential nomination as secretary of State.
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