Susan Rice Withdraws Her Name From Consideration As Secretary Of State
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has taken herself out of the running to replace Hillary Clinton at the State Department:
United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice has pulled her name out of consideration for nomination as the next secretary of state.
“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,” Rice wrote in a letter to President Obama obtained by NBC News. ”That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country…Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time.”
Rice has come under sustained criticismfrom Republicans both for her handling of questions about the attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.
President Obama responded in a statement of his own, saying that he is “grateful” that Rice will continue to serve as ambassador to the United Nations and as a “key member” of his national security team.
In a lot of ways this is not a surprise. The criticism of Rice over her handling of the Benghazi attacks, as well as other matters, was not dying down at all and even moderate Republicans like Susan Collins were expressing skepticism over the idea of Rice being nominated for Secretary of State. Had the President put her name forward, it’s clear that her nomination would have ended up being a long inquiry into all of these matters, and the threat of a Republican filibuster of the nomination would mean that there would be no smooth transition in America’s top diplomatic post at a time when there are numerous crises brewing around the world.
This would seem to guarantee that President Obama will name Senator John Kerry to fill the Secretary of State position. He was the name being mentioned most often alongside Rice’s since Election Day, and there really doesn’t seem to be anyone else on the short list at this point. Of course, picking Kerry means an open Senate seat in Massachusetts and a possible comeback for Scott Brown.
As for Rice herself, she could stay at the United Nations if that’s where the President wants her but there is speculation that she may end up as National Security Adviser, a position which does not require Senate confirmation.