Republicans aren't bothering with the "little fish"
"I think she deserves the ability and the opportunity to explain herself and her position," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told "Fox News Sunday.""But she's not the problem.
McCain's remarks were in contrast to his previous stance that Rice wasn't qualified to replace Clinton, who is expected to step down soon, and that he would do "whatever is necessary" to block Rice's possible nomination.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, McCain's close friend and colleague on the Senate Armed Services Committee, instead of repeating his prior assertion that he was "dead set" against a Rice promotion, Graham suggested he looked forward to hearing her out.
The subtle shift in GOP tenor on Rice could be the result of internal grumblings on how far to take party opposition. Democrats picked up extra Senate seats in the election to maintain their narrow majority, making it that much harder for the remaining 45 Republicans to block the president's nominees.
One senior GOP Senate aide said Sunday that Republicans hadn't united against Rice and were not convinced she was worth going after. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the aide was not authorized to speak publicly on internal GOP deliberations.