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State Dep’t rejects call for UN ambassador to quit

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WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Monday rejected a demand from a senior Republican lawmaker that the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to resign.

Rep. Peter King of New York said last week Susan Rice's explanation of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was a foreign policy failure.

He told CNN that Rice — a possible candidate for secretary of state if President Barack Obama wins re-election — should resign for comments she made five days after the attack saying the evidence gathered at that point indicated it was not a premeditated or coordinated strike.

Officials now say it was a planned terrorist attack distinct from the mob protests in the Arab world over a U.S.-made Internet video ridiculing Islam.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton believes Rice has done a "superb job." The department completely rejects calls for Rice's resignation, Nuland said.

Rice has also received strong support from Democratic senators, who accuse Republicans of trying to politicize the attack in Libya that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Speaking on MSNBC, Republican Sen. John McCain disagreed with King and said Rice shouldn't resign. Rice would need GOP support in the future if she were to be confirmed as the next secretary.