The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved the nomination of Condoleezza Rice for secretary of state, after a two-day confirmation hearing where she was repeatedly questioned over faulty pre-war intelligence on Iraq and ongoing instability in that country.
The panel approved her 16 to two today (Wednesday) (with Democrats Barbara Boxer and John Kerry voting against her). She is expected to win full Senate approval in a vote set for Thursday -- which will make her the first African American female to head the U.S. State Department.
Under tough grilling by Democrats, Ms. Rice admitted the Bush administration had made "some bad decisions" in post-war Iraq.
Both Republican and Democratic senators also expressed concern over the slow pace of training Iraqi security forces and urged the Bush administration to provide an exit plan for U.S. troops.
In perhaps her most heated exchange, Ms. Rice went head to head with California Democrat Barbara Boxer, who said she believes the Bush administration knowingly misled the American public about alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Ms. Rice insisted Saddam Hussein was a dictator who refused to fully disclose his weapons programs.