Embattled U.N. ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration Thursday to be President Obama’s next secretary of state, choosing to avoid what would have been a contentious confirmation battle with Republicans.
Rice was considered by many to be the frontrunner to fill the post soon to be vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but the longtime Obama ally has been lambasted for months for her portrayal of the terrorist attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11.
“l 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,” Rice wrote in a letter to the president. “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.”
Obama accepted Rice’s withdrawal but with took a swipe at Republicans for their attacks on the U.N. ambassador.
“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,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House.
With Rice out of the running, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is now the frontrunner to take over the post.