Susan Rice, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, has withdrawn her name from consideration for Secretary of State.
According to an interview with NBC News, Rice said she withdrew because she “didn’t want to see a confirmation process that was very prolonged, very politicized, very distracting and very disruptive.” She added that she didn’t want to interfere with the beginning of President Barack Obama’s term, when he would begin setting the agenda for the next four years, and that there were more important issues facing the country than her nomination.
In a letter sent to Obama and written with White House assistance, Rice said much the same as she did in her NBC interview.
Most pundits, however, will see Rice’s withdrawal as the inevitable end result of ongoing backlash against her. Rice has been criticized for her comments in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the Libya embassy in Benghazi that killed four people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya. In television interviews, Rice said that the Benghazi attacks were spontaneous and stemmed from outrage over an anti-Islam film on YouTube.
As it turned out, the attacks were coordinated by terrorists. It appears that claims she was merely speaking from an inaccurate “talking points” memo and Obama’s defense of her record weren’t enough to save her candidacy.
Right now, Rice will remain the U.S. ambassador to the UN. Her withdrawal leaves Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as the leading candidate for Secretary of State. Also being cited as a contender for the job is former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel.
— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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