U.S. senators vow to block Susan Rice promotion over Benghazi

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice speaks with the media after Security Council consultations at U.N. headquarters in New York June 7, 2012. REUTERS/Allison Joyce

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senior Republican senators vowed on Wednesday to block any future promotion of Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, over her handling of the September 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

“We will do whatever’s necessary to block the nomination that’s within our power as far as Susan Rice is concerned,” said Senator John McCain. Fellow Republican Senator Lindsey Graham supported that stance at the same news conference.

Rice has been mentioned as a possible successor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has said she will not continue to serve in President Barack Obama’s second term beginning in January.

Republican lawmakers, however, question Rice’s initial description of the violence that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other American officials as a spontaneous outburst rather than a planned attack.

Reporting By Paul Eckert and Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Doina Chiacu