Meet Susan Rice, Controversial UN Ambassador

"In all of these settings, she was always in command of her brief -- and several others as well," he said. "Her combination of smarts and persistence won her respect and admiration among many of her peers and superiors."

Antholis also said that despite the rumblings over whether Rice has the temperament to be Secretary of State, he always found her to be extremely collegial.

"Susan was an ideal colleague. She helped advise senior leaders at Brookings not only on a wide range of policy issues, but also for how we could strengthen our Institution as place that could attract the best scholars from across the political spectrum," he said, adding that he hopes the partisan political wrangling won't derail her potential nomination. "If President Obama nominates her, I hope the nomination will be viewed as an endorsement of an extraordinarily talented, courageous, and persistent public servant."

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