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Susan Rice ’86 withdraws from secretary of state consideration

Susan Rice ’86, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has withdrawn her name from consideration for secretary of state in a letter to President Barack Obama.

(U.S. State Department)

Rice, who has advised the president since he first ran for the office in 2008, had been a front-runner for the position currently held by Hillary Clinton.

“I am highly honored to be considered by you for appointment as secretary of state. … However, if nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly. … That trade-off is simple not worth it to our country,” she wrote in her Dec. 13 letter to the president.

Rice has come under fire recently for comments she made about the Sept. 11 Benghazi terrorist attack, in which four Americans were killed, including Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

On Sept. 16, five days after the attack, Rice went on a circuit of Sunday news shows to report that the attack was a spontaneous event precipitated by an amateur, anti-Muslim video.

“[Our] current best assessment, based on the information we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to … a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated,” she said on ABC’s “This Week.”

The White House has since confirmed the attack was an act of terrorism.

In the early days of her consideration, Republicans were already questioning her judgment in the Benghazi attack and her fitness to serve as secretary of state.

“I will do everything in my power to block [Rice] from being the United States secretary of state,” Senator John McCain said on “Fox and Friends.” “She has proven that she either doesn’t understand or is not willing to accept evidence on its face.”

President Obama, when asked about Rice’s critics, offered a vigorous defense of his U.N. ambassador.

“If Senator McCain … want[s] to go after somebody, [he] should go after me,” Obama said. “[Rice] has represented the United States and our interests in the United Nations with skill and professionalism and toughness and grace.”

Had she been confirmed, Rice would have joined Condoleezza Rice to become the second Stanford-affiliated African-American woman to serve in the position.

Susan Rice’s Stanford education found its way to the floor of the U.N. Security Council in December 2011, during an argument with Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin. Churkin urged U.N. investigations into NATO conduct in Libya, to which Rice responded, “Let us see this for what it is: It is duplicitous, it’s redundant, it’s superfluous and it’s a stunt.”

Churkin responded in a press briefing the next day, as reported by Foreign Policy.

“This is not an issue that can be drowned out by expletives. You might recall the words one could hear: bombast and bogus claims, cheap stunt, duplicitous, redundant, superfluous, stunt,” he said. “Oh, you know, you cannot beat a Stanford education, can you?”

“We hear that the Obama administration wants to establish a dialogue with the international community in the United Nations, “ he added. “If that is to be the case … really this Stanford dictionary of expletives must be replaced by something more Victorian.”

President Obama accepted Rice’s withdrawal from the secretary of state nomination consideration process. In a statement released by the White House he said, “The American people can be proud to have a public servant of her caliber and character representing our country.”

Rice will remain in her positions as U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations and member of President Obama’s cabinet and National Security Council.

 

About Edward Ngai

Edward Ngai is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily. Previously, he has worked as a news desk editor, staff development editor and columnist. He was president and editor-in-chief of The Daily for Vol. 244 (2013-2014). Edward is a junior from Vancouver, Canada studying political science. This summer, he is the Daniel Pearl Memorial Intern at the Wall Street Journal.
  • WWN

    I felt so shamed that she was a Stanford student. Sure this is not Stanford’s fault.

    She was mindless, rude and had no clue of being reasonable while working as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

  • pol_incorrect

    There is only one black woman with a Rice last name that has done a superb job caring for US security and its role in the world and that’s Condi. Condi is a class act while Susan was pathetic. It’s unbelievable that she agreed to go to 5 Sunday talk shows to basically tell a lie (yes LIE, by that time everybody in the US government was aware that there was no demonstration and that the whole thing was a terrorist attack). It’s clear she didn’t have what it takes to replace Hillary Clinton (who by the way didn’t accept to take part of the charade). In addition, I find Condi’s life story way more appealing. She grew up in the segregated South. She had every excuse to blame on others and instead she worked very hard becoming Stanford’s provost at the age of 39 (and as a Republican, which is kind of an endangered species amongst the faculty). Then she honorably served as National Security Adviser and Secretary of State. The real shame is that Romney didn’t appoint her to be his VP nominee. We might be having a different conversation now.

  • Guest

    Do you have any evidence that “everybody in the US government was aware that there was no demonstration and that the whole thing was a terrorist attack”? Because I’m not aware of anyone who could make that claim and back it up with evidence. It’s hard to find evidence for something untrue.

    By the way, Condi’s rise to provost was dubious at best. She helped Casper get to the presidency, and then he did her a favor and named her provost. It’s funny that you think there’s less to criticize her for, when her involvement in the torture of detainees is why most at Stanford did not want her back on campus. Based on your comment, I’m guessing you aren’t a member of the Stanford community.

  • Guest

    Yeah you’re not a Stanford student/alum, stop pretending.

  • Guest

    Obviously this is about the Senate seat that Kerry holds and that the GOP wants Brown to have.

    Why would Churkin bring up her Stanford education? Did she name-drop? No. If she had graduated from SJSU, would he have spent so much time criticizing her “Stanford dictionary” of words? How dumb.

  • pol_incorrect

    The CIA is on record that they knew within 24 hours that it was a terrorist attack. The State Department top security officials watched what happened real time. The Saturday before she went to the Sunday talk shows, all intelligence community agencies were on board that it was a terrorist attack. I am sure you are smart enough to Google those facts. Rice (your Rice, not ours) went on TV to deliberately lie to the American people talking about a “spontaneous demonstration” that never happened. She knew when she was talking about that demonstration that it was a lie. Somebody like US Senator Susan Collins, who cannot be accused of hate towards Rice, said that she had more questions after meeting with Rice than before meeting with her. Look Susan Rice was a good soldier to Obama, no question about that. She might have even felt that lying to the American people was her best shot at State. These reasons (blind allegiance and unbounded ambition) are not the best qualities to be Secretary of State. As I said, the current Secretary of State willingly stayed away from the farce.

    I am a Stanford graduate. There was a petition and stuff against Condi, but her class upon her return was so popular that there was a waiting list. I am part of the Stanford community. I am not part of the Stanford, ultra liberal nutcase community. There is a big difference between the two.