Susan E. Rice, ambassador and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), attends a UN Security Council meeting regarding the on-going situation in Syria on August 30, 2012 in New York City. UN Security Council negotiations regarding the situation in Syria collapsed last month. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans sent the clearest message yet to President Barack Obama on Wednesday that he would have a second-term confirmation fight if he nominates U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state.

“We will do whatever is necessary to block the nomination that’s within our power as far as Susan Rice is concerned,” Sen. John McCain, the top Republican senator on the Armed Services Committee, told reporters at a news conference.

Said Sen. Lindsey Graham, “I don’t trust her.”

The two lawmakers, along with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, are pressing for a special, Watergate-style select Senate committee to investigate the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

They said separate inquiries by various Senate panels will fail to get to the truth and a comprehensive probe “up to and including the president of the United States” was warranted.

They planned to introduce a resolution calling for the special committee on Wednesday afternoon. However, they face opposition from Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said a select committee is not necessary.

Pressed on reports that Obama is considering Rice for the top job at the State Department, the Republican lawmakers were withering in their criticism of her response to the Sept. 11 attack, citing her comments five days after the incident that it was the result of an angry response in the Arab world to an anti-Muslim video produced in the U.S.

McCain said the information that Rice relayed was false and she should have known that it was a terrorist attack.

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.