Obama picked Kerry a week before Rice withdrew


John Kerry was tapped for the Cabinet earlier than we thought.

President Obama asked John Kerry to serve as his secretary of state a week before U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice removed her name from contention, earlier than previously known, the Boston Globe is reporting.

“He called me, actually a week before Susan got out of the thing,” the incoming Cabinet member told the Globe in a wide-ranging interview. “He called me and said, ‘You’re my choice. I want you to do this.’ He asked me to keep it quiet. I did. I sat on it.”

Obama initially seemed inclined to pick Rice as his next secretary of state. But as soon as her name was floated, critics pounced -- pointing not just to her public comments on the Benghazi attacks but also to her stakes in companies that did business in Iran and her handling of African strongmen. Rice withdrew her name from consideration on Dec. 13.

By the time Obama asked Kerry to take the job, Rice had endured three weeks of public vetting and met with several of her Republican critics in an attempt to win them over.

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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Aaron Blake | January 31, 2013