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TOP STORY — Amb. Susan Rice Removes her Name from Consideration for Top Diplomat [Obama's Full Statement - Video]

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“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, saying she’s saddened by the partisan politics surrounding her prospects. “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,” she wrote in the letter obtained by NBC News. [Brian Williams exclusive, Rock Center]

IT WASN’T Benghazi and the swiftboating efforts of Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham that did Ambassador Rice’s nomination in, but they got the train rolling.  The real trouble came through the peeling back of her complicated political history and alliances in Africa, as well as her financial entanglements environmentally, which revealed she was the wrong person to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Piled on top of the initial firestorm that also came with eviscerating reviews of interactions from within the diplomatic community, which establishment media exploited, President Obama and Ambassador Rice found a graceful exit before an explosive confirmation hearing that Republicans had already hinted would be scorching took her out in an embarrassing political circus.

As I’ve already written, Senator John Kerry remains the best pick for secretary of state after Clinton, with the way clear for this to happen now.

Statement by the President Obama on Ambassador Rice

Today, I spoke to Ambassador Susan Rice, and accepted her decision to remove her name from consideration for Secretary of State. For two decades, Susan has proven to be an extraordinarily capable, patriotic, and passionate public servant. As my Ambassador to the United Nations, she plays an indispensable role in advancing America’s interests. Already, she has secured international support for sanctions against Iran and North Korea, worked to protect the people of Libya, helped achieve an independent South Sudan, stood up for Israel’s security and legitimacy, and served as an advocate for UN reform and the human rights of all people. I am grateful that Susan will continue to serve as our Ambassador at the United Nations and a key member of my cabinet and national security team, carrying her work forward on all of these and other issues. I have every confidence that Susan has limitless capability to serve our country now and in the years to come, and know that I will continue to rely on her as an advisor and friend. 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. The American people can be proud to have a public servant of her caliber and character representing our country.

There are also solid reports that former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel is being considered the top candidate for Secretary of Defense, a stellar choice in my estimation.

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16 Responses to TOP STORY — Amb. Susan Rice Removes her Name from Consideration for Top Diplomat [Obama's Full Statement - Video]

  1. Jane Austen December 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    I’m not surprised that Susan Rice removed herself for consideration. I had a feeling that the Republicans, especially McCain, were ready to rake her over the coals.

  2. Taylor Marsh December 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    If Ambassador Rice’s political entanglements in Africa, but also financially with Tar Sands, hadn’t come up she could have survived, though it would have been brutal.

    It was a colossal error to go to the Capitol Hill after McCain made his position clear.

    Andrea Mitchell reported today that Obama would have removed her name earlier but he didn’t want to seem like he was caving to McCain, who will take this as a victory anyway.

    I’ve made no secret that John Kerry was my choice, so I’m not sad at all, though anything that makes it easy for McCain to gloat is an unfortunate development.

    It takes a lot to rise to top diplomat, with one of those things being a talent for being diplomatic. The U.N. requires a cudgel that isn’t as applicable to State.

  3. Marie205 December 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    I am surprised the Obama administration didn’t see the huge battle aka made up bull crap by right wingers… over this pick coming. Oh Well, I hope with the next pick they are better prepared. After losing the presidential race…I guess some delusion republican fans can take comfort in ruining Susan Rice chances of being Sectary of State…LOL

  4. Cujo359 December 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    “Piled on top of the initial firestorm that also came with eviscerating reviews of interactions from within the diplomatic community,”

    If those reviews were true, then it’s well that she withdrew. Sad to say, people who don’t have conflicts of interest will be hard to find in the DC foreign policy establishment, and people the GOP won’t dislike almost equally so. Even Rice’s insular ideas about Africa aren’t completely beyond the pale there, given the bubble the DC FP establishment lives in these days. But one thing Hillary Clinton has shown a talent for doing is having positive interactions with other world leaders. If Rice isn’t up to that task, she would be better used elsewhere.

    • Taylor Marsh December 13, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

      Unfortunately, you’re dead on re: Africa.

      The talk in Washington over her interactions have swirled for months.

      LIkely spot is taking over for Tom Donilon, becoming national security advisor.

  5. LiberalJoe December 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    Jesus H Christ on the Cross. Who won the f&*^%$#g election.

    Regardless of Amb. Rices past, the optics stink. Maybe Pres Obama should have done a better job in vetting, but this is consistent with this President. Absent SoS Clinton and a few others many of his cabinet level and other posts are pitiful -see Sec of Treas Geithner for one, or lack of support for great choices and shy away from fights-Dawn Johnson, Goodwin Liu come to mind. this can easily be spun as the Repubs dictate terms in high profile nominations.

    Chuck Hagel for Sec of Def I say screw that crap. He may be a fine man with integrity but he is just like every other Repub in the Senate over the past 20 yrs and past Repub Sec of Def-they have never met a War they didn’t like. Where is it f%^&*@g written only Repubs can be Sec of Def. Dems don’t have folks who would be or make great choices? Give me a break. The Pres just keeps feeding the myth that only Repubs can be Sec Of Def.

    Dems win the election with an ever an increasing progressive tilt and this President still acts like he should still pay nice in the sandbox with Repubs.

    The fiscal “cliff” talks not withstanding, the Pres water carriers are saying medicare was put on the table by Repubs. I say take it the hell off the table Mr. Pres. The Pres sees that the incoming Congress will be more progressive than the current one especially in the Senate so his quest for a Grand Bargin has to happen now -or that pipe dream goes away starting next year.

    Pres Obama is a horrible Democrat but a great moderate Republican. God help the middle class with this guy.

  6. DaGoat December 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    Whether the vindictiveness of the GOP or the ineptitude of the Obama administration in how they decided to present Susan Rice, neither party comes off very well.

    • Mutaman December 13, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

      Gotta go along with you on this one Taylor. Barry screwed the pooch here. Not a battle I would want to fight. Ms. Rice will have her millions $ to console her.

  7. Ramsgate December 14, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    Must say I agree with Liberal Joe one thousand percent. We should not blame the Republicans, they are just being true to their nature. They are evil. They take the scalps of vulnerable Democrats, and they will do anything to wound Obama. If we have not learned that by now then we are naive fools. Just as the Democrats are being true to their own pusillanimous natures. Once again, Obama was the mouse that roared. All the big talk as if he could/would/would be prepared to fight for once . . . only to back down. No matter how you cut it, he lost.

    The Republicans puffed out their chests and instead of manning up and taking them on and putting them in their place he backed away from a fight. And this makes it harder to win other battles because they know he is weak, no matter how tough he talks. For all those who thought: Wait until he’s re-elected, he’ll be free to take on the Republicans. Well, here you see the character problem staring you in the face. The man has no conviction, and we (I) have yet to see something or someone he believes in strongly enough that he will never cave in or back down on.

    In spite of his last two debates which turned out to be a relief and flukes in my opinion, I have always felt and he keeps confirming: He is not strong enough to confront his political enemies (the Republicans); and he is not strong enough to support or protect his friends.

  8. Taylor Marsh December 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    Susan Rice was *never* the best choice for Secretary of State.

    President Obama was right to navigate out of this, allowing her to craft her own exit.

    • Ramsgate December 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      Ha! Think this is a first.

      I disagree TM. Whether she was the right or wrong choice, the optics are awful. Once the fight was joined he should have damed well followed through. Especially after all his big talk. The Republicans won again. This encourages further abuse. HE brings it on himself.

      Think. Do you believe anyone in Washington believes his threats about the debt ceiling and not playing that game anymore? Puhleeeeeze!!!! He can always be rolled.

      Instead of hiring a Sec’y of Business. He should hire someone to manage their messaging.

      • Taylor Marsh December 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

        You think the optics were bad now….

        What would have resulted after Susan Rice’s record in Africa, Canada Tar Sand had been fully vetted in public and on TV, as well as more people from the foreign service ranks leaking more stories, topped with FNC going full tilt crazy on Libya, would make today’s minor bruise pale in comparison.

        Obama would have taken a real hit that simply wasn’t worth it.

        Most people don’t even know who Susan rice is!

        Obama did the right thing in orchestrating her exit before the Senate coliseum let loose the lions.

        • Ramsgate December 15, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

          TM, again I differ. Results are what matter. People remember the winners.
          And Obama caved. Again.

      • Pilgrim December 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

        “the mouse that roared” — well said

        Ruth Marcus has a column this afternoon that thoughtfully assigns opprobrium to senators, to Rice herself, and — largely to Obama for the way he let Rice twist in the winds of criticism, after having seemingly given her a gallant defence.

        Anent with Liberal Joe’s observation, I saw on the tv where Obama commented in one of his recent interviews that in the 1980′s he would have been a moderate Republican.

        We all figured that out quite a while ago.

        • Pilgrim December 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

          Thanks for your comment, Ramsgate. I always find your words agreeable to my understanding.

          • Ramsgate December 15, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

            Thank you for your kind words Pilgrim.

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