UN Ambassador Susan Rice, once considered the frontrunner to become the next secretary of state, has withdrawn her name from consideration for the post.
After weeks of Republican threats, Rice told President Obama in a letter Dec. 13 that she didn’t want a contentious confirmation process to distract from his legislative agenda.
“I am highly honored to be considered by you for appointment as Secretary of State. I am fully confident that I could serve our country ably and effectively in that role,” she wrote. “However, if nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly — to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities. That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country.”
Republicans, led by Sen. John McCain of Arizona, have waged a campaign against Rice in past weeks, vowing to derail her confirmation as secretary of state if she were nominated. The GOP took issue with her mischaracterization of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya—Rice initially said the attacks were unorganized, later explaining that she simply echoed what she was told by intelligence agencies.
President Obama has staunchly defended Rice and in a Dec. 13, he praised the ambassador for being an “extraordinarily capable, patriotic, and passionate public servant.”
“While I deeply regret the unfair and misleading attacks on Susan Rice in recent weeks, her decision demonstrates the strength of her character, and an admirable commitment to rise above the politics of the moment to put our national interests first,” the president said.” The American people can be proud to have a public servant of her caliber and character representing our country.”
With Rice out of the running, longtime Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) a former presidential candidate and current Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, jumped to the top of the list of possible replacements for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when Clinton steps down next year.