The Washington Post

Susan Rice withdraws name from consideration for secretary of state

United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice has pulled her name out of consideration for nomination as the next secretary of state. 

“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,” Rice wrote in a letter to President Obama first obtained by NBC News. “That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country...Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time." 

President Obama responded in a statement of his own, saying that he is "grateful" that Rice will continue to serve as ambassador to the United Nations and as a "key member" of his national security team. 

"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. "The American people can be proud to have a public servant of her caliber and character representing our country."

Rice has come under sustained criticism from Republicans for her handling of questions about the attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi. 

Some Republican lawmakers have suggested that she was part of what they believe was an election-related attempt to portray the attack as a peaceful demonstration that turned violent, rather than an organized terrorist assault. Administration officials have said that she was merely reading from talking points drawn from the intelligence available at the time. 

One of those critics, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), said in a statement Thursday, “I respect Ambassador Rice’s decision. President Obama has many talented people to choose from to serve as our next Secretary of State.”

The ambassador also faced scrutiny for her investments in firms with ties to Iran and her policy in Africa

Rice's decision will mean renewed focus on Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), whom President Obama has also been considering as a potential Defense secretary. Republicans have praised Kerry as a wise choice -- perhaps because his nomination would give defeated Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) a chance to regain office in another special election. 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to serve only one term.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The Republicans debated Saturday night. The New Hampshire primary is Feb. 9. Get caught up on the race.
Highlights from Saturday's GOP debate
Except for an eminent domain attack from Bush, Trump largely avoided strikes from other candidates.

Christie went after Rubio for never having been a chief executive and for relying on talking points.

Carson tried to answer a question on Obamacare by lamenting that he hadn't been asked an earlier question about North Korea.
The GOP debate in 3 minutes
Listen
Play Video
Quoted
We have all donors in the audience. And the reason they're booing me? I don't want their money!
Donald Trump, after the debate crowd at St. Anselm's College booed him for telling Jeb Bush to be "quiet."
Listen
Play Video
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote, but Marco Rubio has recently seen a jump in his support, according to polls.
New Hampshire polling averages
A victory in New Hampshire revitalized Hillary Clinton's demoralized campaign in 2008. But this time, she's trailing Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont. She's planning to head Sunday to Flint, Mich., where a cost-saving decision led to poisonous levels of lead in the water of the poor, heavily black, rust-belt city. 
55% 38%
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.