Analysis: Susan Rice move no surprise at all
The only surprise with the news that United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice is removing herself for consideration to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State is that it took Rice so long to fall on her sword.
“I didn’t want to see a confirmation process that was very prolonged, very politicized, very distracting and very disruptive because there are so many things we need to get done as a country and the first several months of a second term president’s agenda is really the opportunity to get the crucial things done,” Rice told NBC News anchor Brian Williams on Thursday.
A “prolonged,” “politicized” and “distracting” and “disruptive” confirmation process was a given with Rice, who has been under fire for her role in reporting on the cause of attacks on a Libyan consulate on Sept. 11 that led to the deaths of four Americans, including Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Rice went on Sunday-news shows following the attacks to parrot the early intelligence on the attacks that characterized them as having been spurred on by demonstrations that had arisen in several locations in the Middle East over a controversial American-made anti-Muslim propaganda film.
Later intelligence revealed the attacks as having been preplanned acts of terror.
“I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community. I made clear that the information was preliminary and that our investigations would give us the definitive answers,” Rice said in her own defense at a Nov. 21 speech at the United Nations.
But it was too little, too late. Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain led the partisan attacks on Rice, promising to derail a Rice candidacy even as Democratic President Barack Obama stood by Rice.
Obama issued a statement of support for Rice after word of her withdrawal from consideration for the job at State had come down.
“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,” President Obama said.
Analysis by Chris Graham