Susan Rice says she will not be the next secretary of state, citing partisan politics in saying she would refuse the nomination if selected by President Obama.
Rice, the Ambassador to the U.N. who became the target of Republican anger over mishandling of the fallout of the attacks on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, wrote a letter to Obama, preemptively refusing the nomination, NBC News reported.
“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," she wrote in the letter, obtained by NBC. “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.”
The White House released a statement Thursday afternoon on Rice's decision.
Rice became the target of Congressional Republicans following the Benghazi attack on September 11, accused of deliberately misleading the public on the nature of the attacks that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Rice, backed by the administration, maintains that her statements at a round of appearances on Sunday morning talk shows were in line with the approved talking points from intelligence officials and were truthful to her knowledge at the time.
Attacks against Rice turned towards her personal qualifications, singling her out for fault in the confusion over what led to the consulate attack.
Rice met with Republicans, including Sens. John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, and Lindsey Graham, who had been among the most vocal in attacking her, in November, hoping to answer questions and smooth tensions, but nothing she or the administration said seemed to satisfy them.
Her decision to withdraw from the process means that Obama's path towards building his new national security team--both State and Defense Cabinet positions are expected to open, as well as the CIA director position. Senator John Kerry is considered a strong contender for either State or Defense.
Here's Rice on "This Week" following the Benghazi attacks.
Here's President Obama defending her.