After months of withering criticism for the way she misrepresented the Libya consulate attack by terrorists, U.N. envoy Susan Rice, 48, has declined to accept nomination as secretary of state after Hillary Clinton resigns.
“Today, I made the decision that it was the best thing for our country, for the American people that I not continue to be considered by the president for nomination of secretary of state,” Rice told NBC’s Brian Williams.
Rice added, “And to the extent that my nomination could have delayed or distracted or deflected or maybe even some of these priorities impossible to achieve, I didn’t want that and I much prefer to keep doing what I’m doing which is a job I love at the United Nations.”
Days after the U.S. embassy was attacked in Libya and Ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered by well-armed terrorists in a sustained planned attack, Rice went on five major Sunday television talk shows and told the country the embassy had been overrun during a spontaneous protest related to a film that insulted Islam.
“What happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video,” Rice said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” five days after the attack.
As the truth emerged, it was learned that the government knew it was a premeditated terrorist attack within hours. GOP critics and others accused Rice of misleading the public at the height of the presidential campaign.
However Rice blamed career CIA employees for giving her bad information in talking points, claiming she went with the best information available about the attack. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
“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,” she said on Nov. 21 at the United Nations.
At that point, Obama had already suggested he wanted Rice to replace Clinton as secretary of state and warned Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to stop criticizing her and vowing to block her confirmation.
Neither did, and today Rice said she would not seek that office. Pundits say Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry is next in the top diplomat batter’s box. Democrats have expressed concerns that Republican and former senator Scott Brown may seek Kerry’s long-time senate seat should he get a nod from the White House.