SOUTHERN ILLINOIS - Condoleezza Rice took over Thursday as the 66th U.S. secretary of state, replacing Colin Powell to hold the nation's top diplomatic post. While she received the confirmation, Illinois senators were split on their support for Rice.

Sen. Dick Durbin voted against Rice, while Sen. Barack Obama voted for her. Rice was approved 85-13. She was the first secretary of state nominee to garner "no" votes in 24 years.

Durbin said although he respects Rice, he was unable to overlook her pervious actions.

"I was troubled and continued to be troubled with statements that she made before the invasion of Iraq," Durbin said. "She was the national security advisor and she said things about the treats in Iraq that were just wrong. I think as national security advisor she should had demanded better evidence before building this case for the invasion that lead to the situation we are in today. I think she used poor judgment, and that's the reason I voted no."

Rice, who served as provost at Stanford University and was an analyst of the former Soviet Union, comes to office the war in Iraq continues. Iraqis are scheduled to vote Sunday in the first free election in the country's history.

So far, the war has cost the United States $280 billion and the lives of more than 1,400 U.S. troops.

Rice's 13-vote opposition was the greater than the seven votes cast against Henry Kissinger in 1973 when he became Richard Nixon's top diplomat. Durbin said the nomination process is one of the few opportunities for senators to hold a person accountable for their actions, which is what he believed occurred on Wednesday.

All voting Republicans, two of which abstained from the vote, gave the nod to Rice. Voting now were 12 Democrats and one independent, Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont.

Durbin said the end vote with one-third of Democrats supporting Rice was due to personal preference, not politics.

"Many people believe, incorrectly, that the Democrats sit down as a group as decide what to do. We don't," Durbin, minority whip, said. "This was a personal decision for each of us. We stated our beliefs and cast our vote, and I don't think it should have been a partisan decision."

Obama, who said he opposed the invasion of Iraq, said there is a need to finish what has begun.

"I have strong concerns about the path this administration has charted in the world and about the false premises that were laid to justify the war in Iraq," Obama said in a statement. "But I also believe that we have one president at a time. He is, ultimately, responsible for our foreign policy and deserves the secretary of state of his choice, unless the nominee is so flawed that he or she should be disqualified. I don't believe this was the case here."

Last week, Obama OK'd Rice when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 16-2 to approve her nomination.

The only two opposition votes came from Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif, and John Kerry, D - Mass, who unsuccessfully challenged President Bush for the White House last year. Kerry and Boxer were the most vocal critics of administration policy on Iraq on the panel.

With Rice's confirmation complete, the senate will next turn it's attention on Alberto Gonzales, attorney general nominee.

The Senate Judicatory Committee narrowly approved Gonzales' nomination by 10-8 vote on Wednesday. None of the panel's Democrats supported Gonzales to be the next attorney general, citing his close relationship to president Bush and his authoring of what has become known as the "torture memo," which outlined acceptable interrogation tactics to use on combatants captured in the war on terror.

Durbin said there is an indication Gonzales will receive fewer votes on the floor, than Rice.

Robert Gibbs, Obama spokesperson, said while he could not predict the outcome of next week's vote, he said Obama was "deeply concerned" about the nominee particularly on the issue of prisoner torture.

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