- Teen OK after riding in wheel well of Hawaii jet
- Kraft recalls 96K pounds of Oscar Mayer hot dogs over cheese error
- Boy Scouts boots church as host after gay leadership dispute
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s new book raises 2016 presidential speculation
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Rep. Marsha Blackburn: Hillary Clinton won’t be first female president
- French president accuses Syria’s Assad of gassing his own citizens
- Jimmy Carter’s grandson makes gains in governor’s race in Georgia
- Yemen: Airstrike targets al Qaeda training camps
- Easter worshippers shocked as car rams church, injuring 21
Kerry, Hagel front-runners to lead State, Defense
Up until this week, the White House was still privately challenging the record of Rice’s opponents on similar GOP nominations. In Congress, Democrats were more troubled by a steady drip of reports about Rice, from a possible conflict of interest over personal holdings and the Keystone XL pipeline to increased scrutiny about her relationship with the president of Rwanda and the country’s backing of a rebel group in Congo, a charge Rwanda denies.
In a letter to Obama, Rice bowed out, saying that “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.”
She added that she was saddened by the partisanship even before Obama made a nomination, but the country “cannot afford such an irresponsible distraction from the most pressing issues facing the American people.”
Obama bemoaned the relentless Republican criticism in accepting Rice’s decision to step aside.
“While I deeply regret the unfair and misleading attacks on Susan Rice in recent weeks, her decision demonstrates the strength of her character,” the president said.
Kerry is no stranger to the politicization of national security; he was the target of unsubstantiated claims by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth over his Vietnam record. He acknowledged that experience in his statement Thursday praising Rice.
“As someone who has weathered my share of political attacks and understands on a personal level just how difficult politics can be, I’ve felt for her throughout these last difficult weeks, but I also know that she will continue to serve with great passion and distinction,” he said in a statement.
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, who will be the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee next year, applauded Rice “for making the right decision to withdraw herself, recognizing the atmosphere and damage a messy confirmation process would cause.”
McCain, Graham, Ayotte and Collins said in statements that they respected Rice’s decision while vowing to press ahead in getting answers about the Benghazi attack.
The White House said Rice would remain U.N. ambassador. She could become national security adviser should Tom Donilon move on to another position, though that is not expected imminently. The security adviser position would not require Senate confirmation.
• Associated Press writers Ben Feller and Julie Pace contributed to this report.
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- USAID documents cite Hillary Clinton in chaos of Afghan aid
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- CURL: Shelly O first lady Michelle Obama comes in last
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- Building a D.C. memorial for an endless war bumps into regulations
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- No rush: Bob Goodlatte waits for heads to cool on heated legislation
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.