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Today, I voted to confirm Condoleezza Rice to be our next Secretary of State. My vote today does not excuse Dr. Rice from the responsibility she bears for her work as National Security Advisor, particularly the Administration's woefully inadequate planning for post-war Iraq.



Despite my concerns, I voted to confirm Dr. Rice because I generally believe a president should have a Cabinet of his choosing. I take my responsibility to provide "advice and consent" seriously and consider each nominee individually. I also believe it's important that when America's Secretary of State meets with world leaders, that person has the authority that comes from support at home.



I hope that Dr. Rice will reflect on the valid concerns raised during her confirmation hearing and will adopt a more open style that welcomes all views, particularly those that she and the President do not already hold.



At the end of the day, Dr. Rice will be confirmed, and when she represents our country around the world, she needs to be successful, for all our sakes. I will work with her to meet the challenges our country faces around the world.