Transcript for Susan Rice Withdraws From Consideration for Secretary of State
The woman who withstood ferocious fire from political opponents in washington today said enough. Susan rice, the ambassador to the u.N., So embattled over the tragedy in benghazi said she will not go through a bruising nomination fight to succeed hillary clinton as secretary of state. So, what happened behind closed doors? Why not? And whom will the president pick to represent america on the world stage? Abc's jake tapper has all the details right now. Jake? Reporter: Good evening, diane. Well, ambassador susan rice withdrew her name from consideration to be secretary of state after weeks of bruising political battles and a cacophony of criticism. In a letter to the president u.S. Ambassador to the united nations su wrote, "the position of secretary of state should never be politicized. I am saddened that we have reached this point even before you have decided whom to nominate." And she shared the news on nbc. I didn't want to see a confirmation process that was very prolonged, very politicized, very distracting and very dip runnive, because there are so many things we need to get done as a country. Reporter: Just weeks ago, rice, a rising star in the obama administration, was the president's top choice to serve as the next secretary of state. But she drew a lightning storm of republican criticism for repeating talking points from the intelligence committee that seemed to critics to downplay the terrorist attack on the diplomatic compound in benghazi, libya. This began as a spontaneous. The concerns I have are greater today than they were before and we're not even close to getting basic answers. It is clear that the information that she gave the american people was incorrect. Reporter: The president, in a statement today, praised rice, who will stay at her u.N. Post. And expressed regret for, quote, the unfair and misleading attacks on her. Abc news has learned that before her withdrawal, president obama had concluded that senator john kerry would be a better choice to be the nation's top diplomat. With kerry almost certain to be tapped, sources say former senator chuck hagel, a nebraska republican, seems to today have an edge to be the next defense secretary. And in what is perceived as an expression of presidential support, president obama will meet here at the white house with ambassador rice, diane. I want to turn to another meeting jake. Behind you tonight, behind those white house doors, the president met with speaker boehner as the f fiscal cliff. What happened? Reporter: John boehner came here, invited by the president to talk about this impasse they seemed to have reached, with boehner saying the president hasn't agreed to enough spending cuts, president obama pushing on increasing tax rates on the wealthiest americans. We do not have the any news to suggest that an agreement has been reached, but at least they're still talking, diane. Two and a half weeks away. Thank you so much, jake.
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