With Susan Rice officially withdrawing herself as a possible nominee for US Secretary of State, this can be considered a victory for the GOP. At the same time, it allows for US President Barack Obama to focus more on the "fiscal cliff" battle.
While the United States President Barack Obama and the rest of the Democrats clash with GOP House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and the rest of the Republicans, it would seem that things are shaky on the Republican side for many reasons. However, in this sudden twist, the GOP with Senate Republicans to be more specific have scored a victory. This victory could give GOP more momentum in this “fiscal cliff” battle. However, this recent victory has nothing to do with the fiscal cliff. It has everything to do with Susan Rice, the United States (US) Ambassador to the United Nations (UN). It has been one of the many heated battles that Obama has engaged in against the Republicans.
Hillary Clinton, not long ago, made the announcement that she would resign from her position as US Secretary of State. Before being US Secretary of State, Clinton was a US Senator from New York. Before being a US Senator, Clinton was the First Lady to then-US President Bill Clinton. During the 2008 Democratic Primaries for US President, it was between Clinton and Obama with the latter being a junior US Senator from Illinois. However, it's unknown when Clinton will officially step down from her post as US State Secretary.
So far, Obama hasn't brought up any names. However, Republicans in both the House and Senate attacked the possibility of Rice as a nominee. House Republicans issued a letter to President Obama back in mid-November accusing Rice of misleading the nation in regards to the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya. They said that Rice was unfit to take over as US Secretary of State. Also, GOP Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have voiced their criticism towards Rice.
Obama defended Rice and told them to go after him. Female Democrats of the US House accused the criticisms of being both racist and sexist.
Republicans have “gotten their wish.” Rice had sent a letter to Obama saying that she would remove herself as a possibility of being a nominee. In the letter, Rice said that the confirmation process would cost a lot of time and money if she was chosen.
Instead of trying to get Rice to reconsider, Obama accepted Rice's letter. In a statement, in response to the letter from Rice, Obama said that the attacks against Rice were both “unfair and misleading.” He said that he admired Rice's commitment.
Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the current chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is the most possible nominee at the moment. Kerry ran unsuccessfully for United States President in 2004 against then-Republican incumbent George W. Bush. In regards to Rice, Kerry gave her his sympathies.
Going back to Rice, she wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post, in regards to her decision to drop out of the running for US Secretary of State. She talked about the appearances on the five talk shows, which acted as the catalyst of a salvo of political fire from the GOP. Rice, in the op-ed, said she appeared on the five shows upon request from the White House. Originally, it was supposed to be Clinton appearing. As she was unable to, the WH asked that she appear in Clinton's place and discuss various foreign policy issues.
Rice said that she never had any intentions to mislead the American people. She talks about growing up in Washington DC along with seeing many political and policy fights take place.
In a Washington Post blog entry, it talks about a video with NBC Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd. He was being interviewed by Martin Bashir on MSNBC. In the interview, there was the suggestion that Rice was a quick and easy target. This was for these reasons: Rice wasn't an elected official, she doesn't have her own consulting team, and she doesn't have a full public relations (PR) team. Furthermore, it was said that Rice was the target of conservative-driven media.
With Rice withdrawing, the focus is now on Kerry. Again, Obama hasn't given any names out of yet. When Obama does give out possible nominations, it might not even be Kerry. As Wall Street Journal reports, Kerry's interested in becoming the next US Defense Secretary. While Republicans are supportive of the possibility of Kerry being the next US State Secretary, there are concerns for the Democrats.
If Kerry is tapped and chosen as the next US State Secretary, then he would have to vacate his US Senate seat. That would mean that new elections would have to go into effect. This seat could possibly turn red. When Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy passed away, his Senate seat ended up being taken by GOP newcomer Scott Brown. Recently, after a grueling US Senate battle for that Massachusetts seat, Elizabeth Warren emerged victorious in turning that seat blue again.
Should that happen, this gives the GOP a shot of getting that seat.
In regards to accepting Rice's name withdrawal, this is a sign that Obama's carefully picking his battles. Right now, his main battle at the moment is the fiscal cliff in which he is in a standoff with GOP House Speaker Boehner. With that battle done with, it gives Obama more time to focus on the fiscal cliff battle.