Spencer Platt, Getty Images
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice leaves a General Assembly vote on Nov. 29.
By Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON - After weeks of mounting criticism against U.N.
Ambassador Susan Rice, Sen. John McCain offered a measured response on
Thursday to Rice's decision to remove herself from consideration to be
the next secretary of State.
"Sen. McCain thanks Ambassador Rice
for her service to the country and wishes her well," said McCain
spokesman Brian Rogers. "He will continue to seek all the facts about
what happened before, during and after the attack on our consulate in
Benghazi that killed four brave Americans."
Rice came under fire
from several Republican senators, led by McCain, R-Ariz., and Sens.
Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. The three had suggested
they would block Rice if Obama nominated her to succeed Secretary of
State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
After meeting with Rice on Capitol
Hill late last month, three senators said their concerns had only grown
about misleading statements Rice made after the Sept. 11 attack on a
U.S. Consulate in Libya that left Ambassador Christopher Stevens and
three other Americans dead.
Rice incorrectly stated in a round of
interviews days after the incident that the attack may have emerged from
a protest outside the consulate in response to an anti-Islam video.
said after Thursday's announcement: "I respect Susan Rice's decision
and appreciate her commitment to public service. However, my concerns
regarding the terrorist attack in Benghazi go beyond any one individual.
I remain deeply troubled by the continued lack of information from the
White House and the State Department."
The news of Rice's decision to withdraw herself from consideration was greeted with disappointment and anger by some Democrats.
Rice wrote in a letter to President Obama released on Thursday
afternoon that she was "convinced that the confirmation process would be
lengthy, disruptive and costly - to you and our pressing national and
international priorities. That trade-off is simply not worth it to our
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, has been floated as a possible
candidate for the job. He called Rice an "extraordinarily capable and
dedicated public servant."
"As someone who has weathered my share
of political attacks and understands on a personal level just how
difficult politics can be, I've felt for her throughout these last
difficult weeks, but I also know that she will continue to serve with
great passion and distinction," Kerry said.
Donna Brazile, the Democratic strategist, wrote on Twitter that McCain should be ashamed for blocking Rice.
so appalled at Senator McCain, Graham and all others who led the war
against @AmbassadorRice. She deserved a fair hearing. Agree?" Brazile
Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., a member of the House Foreign Affairs committee, also came to Rice's defense.
is unfortunate Ambassador Rice had to make this decision in the face of
such unfounded and unfair character attacks. If judged fairly based
solely on her qualifications for the job, she would've made an
extraordinary secretary of State."