Washington, D.C. — Susan Rice has withdrawn her name from consideration to be the next Secretary of State, the Associated Press reports.
Rice had been on the shortlist to replace Hillary Clinton when she leaves the state department, but Republicans have been fighting her nomination over her comments about the 9/11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The GOP said that Rice misled the public when she called the attacks a spontaneous protest and not an organized assault by affiliates of al Qaeda.
In a letter to the president, Rice said she wanted to avoid a “lengthy, disruptive and costly” confirmation process. She wrote, “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.”
President Obama said in a statement that he accepted Rice’s decision to remove her name from consideration. He denounced what he said were “unfair and misleading attacks” on Rice in the past few weeks. He said he had “every confidence that Susan has limitless capability to serve our country now and in the years to come.”
He then said Rice’s 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. The American people can be proud to have a public servant of her caliber and character representing our country.”
A source familiar with the deliberations said that Rice had been losing support for the past few days.
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry is now believed, at least internally, to be the frontrunner for the position. Kerry is the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and has over two decades of experience in international affairs.
Sen. John Barasso, a Wyoming Republican who is also on the FRC, said Rice’s decision was the right one. He also said he thinks “Kerry is highly qualified and highly confirmable.”