- Title: VARIOUS/FILE: Susan Rice withdraws name from consideration for secretary of state
- Date: 13th December 2012
- Summary: PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (FILE) (REUTERS) RICE STANDING
- Reuters ID: LVA3RJKCCG70WFTVX8AXZZRQJL3M
- Location: Haiti, Ireland, Usa, Libya
- Country: Haiti Usa Ireland Libya
- Duration: 00:00:05
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None
- Story Text: Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration as U.S. secretary of state on Thursday (December 13) in the face of what promised to be a difficult Senate confirmation battle.
Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a close confidante of President Barack Omaba, said she was withdrawing from the process to avoid a lengthy, costly and disruptive confirmation battle.
Rice has faced questions about comments she made days after the September 11 assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya when the Obama administration said the attack was a result of a spontaneous demonstration over a film made in the United States that was insulting to the Prophet Mohammad.
Obama issued a statement saying he had accepted her decision and is grateful she will continue as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Hillary Clinton is planning to step down as secretary of state.
As U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Rice has had a series of diplomatic triumphs.
U.N. officials credit Rice, who took office in 2009 as Obama's U.N. envoy, with repairing damage done to the U.S. image at the United Nations, an organization often criticized by the administration of former President George W. Bush.
Rice has also won accolades for pushing the U.N. Security Council to adopt new Iran and North Korea sanctions, helping secure the toughest U.N. measures to date against those two countries over their nuclear programs. Rice also played a key role in negotiating last year's war resolution on Libya.
Rice has also pushed for Syria's Bashar al-Assad to step down and has pressed the Security Council to take stronger action to end the 20-month-long uprising by rebels determined to topple his government.
Last month after the 193-nation U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine, Rice chided the vote called for the immediate resumption of peace talks.
Although Rice has championed the U.S. stance on the "Arab Spring" of pro-democracy movements that has swept the Middle East and North Africa.
Current and former U.S. officials aligned with the Obama administration say Rice is eminently qualified for the post of secretary of state.
They say the attacks on her during the presidential campaign were part of Republican efforts to emphasize the Benghazi assault as a terrorist attack, possibly linked to al Qaeda, on Obama's watch.
In the days after the September 11 Benghazi attack where the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed, Rice had said made the rounds on five U.S. television news networks to say, "What happened in Benghazi was in fact, initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo."
Senior Republicans, such as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, have said they will oppose her getting the job and have threatened to block Rice's nomination if Obama picks her, which would require Senate confirmation.
"We will do whatever is necessary to block the nomination that is within our power as far as Susan Rice is concerned," Senator McCain has said.
They accuse Rice of misleading the American people for political reasons in the run-up to the November 6 presidential election by playing down any al Qaeda links to the Benghazi, Libya attack at a time when Obama was touting his record of successes against the militant movement.
However, President Barack Obama, an old friend, showed he has her back when he publicly challenged her Republican critics over the Benghazi controversy to "go after me" rather than her.
Rice has also defended her September statements about the attack.
"I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community," Rice told reporters at the United Nations. "I made clear that the information provided to me was preliminary and that our investigations would give us the definitive answers."
Rice became an official in the Clinton administration in the 1990s, at the National Security Council and State. Then, under Obama, she became the youngest woman and the first black female to become U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
She grew up close to the levers of power. She is the daughter of the late Emmett Rice, who was a Cornell University economics professor and member of the Federal Reserve Board of governors.
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- Embargoed:28th December 2012 12:00