Susan Rice has had a series of diplomatic triumphs as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. President Barack Obama, an old friend, showed he has her back when last week he publicly challenged her Republican critics over the Benghazi controversy to “go after me” rather than her. She knew former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright from the age of 4.

And yet Rice is now fighting for her political future. Her chances of becoming the next secretary of state – replacing Hillary Clinton – have been significantly damaged.

Senior Republicans, such as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, have said they will oppose her getting the job, signaling a confirmation battle if Obama decides to nominate her. Some critics in the U.S. media, such as Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, have said she is unsuitable for the position.