Monday November 26, 2012 | 10:18 PM

WASHINGTON – United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice plans to meet this week with several Republican senators – including Sen. Susan Collins of Maine – to talk about her role in the Obama administration’s public handling of the Benghazi attacks.

Collins spokesman Kevin Kelley said Rice’s office requested a meeting, which may happen on Wednesday. Rice reportedly also plans to meet with Sen. John McCain of Arizona – one of her harshest critics in recent weeks – as well as Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, according to news reports.

McCain, Ayotte and Graham had all vowed to block Rice’s anticipated nomination to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state due, in large part, to television interviews she gave less than a week after the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Speaking off of Obama administration talking points, Rice had suggested that the attacks grew out of anger over an anti-Islamic video filmed in the U.S. and circulating on the internet. The attacks, which killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, now appear to have been pre-planned by militant groups.

Collins has also been critical of Rice’s and the Obama administration’s initial public statements about the attacks and has questioned why the facility wasn't better protected. As ranking minority member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Collins is helping oversee one of several congressional inquiries into the incidents in Benghazi.



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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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