January 27, 2005 in Nation/World

Senate confirms Rice as top U.S. diplomat

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Condoleezza Rice won confirmation as secretary of state Wednesday despite criticism from Senate Democrats who accused her of misleading statements and said she must share the blame for mistakes and war deaths in Iraq.

The tally, though one-sided at 85-13, was still the largest “no” vote against any secretary of state nominee since 1825.

Rice was sworn in seven hours later by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card in his West Wing office. President Bush planned to attend a ceremonial swearing-in Friday at the State Department.

Separately, a Senate committee narrowly voted to send Alberto Gonzales’ attorney general nomination to the full Senate. Jim Nicholson and Michael Leavitt won confirmation as the new secretaries of veterans affairs and health and human services respectively.

Although Rice’s nomination was never in doubt, Democrats mounted a lengthy and biting protest that showed she will not immediately match her predecessor Colin Powell’s collegial relationship with Capitol Hill.

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