Rice's star rises as congressional opposition dims

WASHINGTON (AP) — With congressional opposition softening, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice could find her name in contention as early as this week to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of State. It's a step that may signal greater U.S. willingness to intervene in world crises.

As President Barack Obama nears a decision on Clinton's successor, Rice has emerged as the clear front-runner on a short list of candidates that many believe has been narrowed to just her and Sen. John Kerry, despite lingering questions over her comments about the deadly Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya.

Administration officials and congressional aides say Rice will be making the rounds on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to discuss the attack in private meetings with key lawmakers whose support she would need to be confirmed.