The Washington Times - January 6, 2009, 05:53PM

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s confirmation hearing as secretary of state is planned for the middle of next week, and a vote could take place by the week’s end, congressional officials said Tuesday. They didn’t specify a date, saying it has yet to be confirmed.

The hearing in the Foreign Relations Committee is expected to last only a day, unlike four years ago, when Condoleezza Rice was grilled for two days in some memorable exchanges. The ones with Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, inspired a “Saturday Night Live” sketch.

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Next week’s proceedings will most likely be chaired by Sen. John Kerry, Massachussets Democrat, who replaces Vice President-elect Joe Biden as the committee’s head, though Mr. Biden is still a senator until Jan. 20. Mr. Biden and Mr. Kerry will lead a congressional delegation to South Asia before Inauguration Day, but the dates have yet to be announced.

—Nicholas Kralev, diplomatic correspondent, The Washington Times