In this image provided by CBS, Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. speaks on "Face the Nation" in Washington, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/CBS News, Chris Usher)
Susan Rice Withdraws from Secretary of State Consideration
Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has withdrawn her name from consideration to be the next secretary of state.
Rice was one of President Obama’s first picks to replace Hillary Clinton, but after her controversy with Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Rice feels that it would be best if she were out of the running for secretary of state. She believes that McCain and Graham’s dislike for her would complicate the confirmation process to become secretary of state and slow down Obama’s plans for the country.
In a letter written to Obama, Rice states, “It is far more important that we devote precious legislative hours and energy to enacting your core goals.”
Many supporters of Rice are upset about her decision because they believe that her decision should be based on her capability to be secretary of state and not on criticism from her counterparts.
One former administration official said, “This is not about foreign policy, it’s about politics, and we are all in for serious trouble if partisan politics is going to prevent the commander-in-chief from being able to surround himself with the team that he believes in.”
Obama said he deeply regretted "the unfair and misleading attacks" on Rice, and he praised his ambassador to the U.N. as "an extraordinarily capable, patriotic and passionate public servant."
For the past few months, Republican lawmakers have criticized Rice for her comments made about the September attacks on a U.S. diplomat in Benghazi, Libya. In an interview, Rice told the public that this attack was not an act of terror. When this statement was made, Rice was relying on information given to her by the CIA. Information that the attack was indeed premeditated and an act of terror later unfolded, leaving Rice to appear as though she didn’t know the correct information or was purposefully telling the wrong information. McCain and Graham took this statement made by Rice and quickly started a war of criticism against her.
Obama continued to defend Rice in the following weeks, proposing that Rice’s critics were coming after her because they couldn’t get to him.
When speaking of McCain and Graham, Obama says, “When they go after the U.N. ambassador, apparently because they think she's an easy target, then they've got a problem with me.”
On her withdrawal, Rice states, “I am saddened that we have reached this point, even before you have decided who to nominate” adding: “We cannot afford such an irresponsible distraction from the most pressing issues facing the American people.”
Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is now considered the leading contender to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state after she steps down early next year.
Rice’s decision has sparked conversation throughout the nation. Her withdrawal will lead the headlining topics on this week's Washington Watch with Roland Martin, which airs on TV One this Sunday, December 16, 2012.