The White House has issued a statement explaining that Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, has taken herself out of consideration for the role of Secretary of State.
It would have been an interesting appointment for Canada: Rice worked in Toronto early in her career and married a Canadian — former CBC TV producer, Ian Cameron.
But she has come under scrutiny recently from everything from her inaccurate explanations of the attacks in Benghazi; to her extensive personal investments in the oil sector, including a large stake in TransCanada Pipelines, (whose proposed Keystone XL pipeline remains a major pending decision for the State Dept.); to her handling of diplomacy in Africa in the Clinton administration.
Here is Obama’s statement:
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.
The move leaves open the question of who will replace Clinton, who does not want to serve a second term. Many senators from both parties, who must vote to confirm the president’s nominee for the job, have said they’d like their colleague, Senator John Kerry, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But that pick presents a dilemma for Obama: should Kerry vacate his Senate seat, there is a good chance it would be won by former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown, who narrowly lost a bid for the state’s other senate seat this November. With the Democrats’ narrow lead in the Senate, every seat makes a difference.