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US Senate committee expected to confirm Hillary

Hillary Clinton is on her way to becoming the top US diplomat, with Democrats expecting a favorable Senate committee vote on her nomination next week.

world Updated: Jan 08, 2009 09:38 IST

Hillary Rodham Clinton is on her way to becoming the top US diplomat, with Democrats expecting a favorable Senate committee vote on her nomination next week and even Republicans singing her praises.

"I think she's a known commodity. She's been tested in a lot of ways," said Sen Jim DeMint, a Republican and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "She expresses herself well, and I don't think she'll make any rookie mistakes."

The timetable for Clinton's confirmation has been closely watched because her departure from the Senate would give New York Gov David Paterson, a fellow Democrat, the power to appoint her successor. Caroline Kennedy, the scion of a political dynasty, wants the job. Paterson has said he is considering her along with several other candidates.

Clinton is expected to testify before the Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, with a committee vote two days later, before the start of a separate confirmation hearing for Susan Rice, President-elect Barack Obama's pick for UN ambassador.

If approved by the panel, Clinton could be confirmed by the full Senate before Obama takes office on January 20.

In advance of the hearing, Clinton has been reaching out to individual senators through telephone calls and lengthy sit-down meetings, including an hour long meeting last month with Sen Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee.

On Wednesday, Clinton attended the Democrats' weekly policy lunch at the Capitol building.