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United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice has withdrawn her name from consideration as secretary of state, President Barack Obama announced on Thursday. Rice withdrew her name following intense criticism from Republican opposition critical of her statements following the Benghazi, Libya, attack on the American consulate.
Rice was considered the potential heir-apparent to the post now held by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Clinton had said she would leave the office as soon as her successor was named.
In her letter to the president, Rice wrote that "it has been and remains my highest professional privilege to serve as your United Nation ambassador," but although she was "fully confident that [she] could serve our country ably and effectively in that role," she was "now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly--to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities."
In a statement released to the press, President Obama said:
"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 U.N. 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 adviser 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."
Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) is now considered the front-runner for the post.