United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name Thursday from consideration to be secretary of state, sparing the Obama administration what could have been a bruising congressional confirmation battle.
Rice submitted a letter to President Barack Obama stating that “I am fully confident that I could serve our country ably and effectively” as the successor to outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “However, if nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly – to you and our most pressing national and international priorities.”
Obama said he accepted Rice’s request with regret after speaking with her.
“I am grateful that Susan will continue to serve as our Ambassador at the United Nations and a key member of my cabinet and national security team…,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House. “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.”
Congressional Republicans had set their sights on Rice after she appeared on Sunday news shows in the aftermath of the deadly Sept. 11, 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, and forcefully stated that the attack spawned from a spontaneous demonstration.
The attack proved to be a product of terrorism. Rice said she was reading from talking points provided by the intelligence community at the request of congressional leaders. Still, Republican lawmakers like Sen. John McCain, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine, accused Rice of politicizing the Benghazi attack in the weeks leading to the presidential election, a charge that she and the White House vehemently denied.
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