On Thursday night's edition of "The Rachel Maddow Show," host Rachel Maddow discussed U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's decision to withdraw her name for consideration as potential Secretary of State. The sudden reversal is bound to cause a bit of turmoil in its wake in that there is no clear successor for the posting.
Rice told President Barack Obama that she was officially withdrawing her name from consideration as a possible successor to Hillary Clinton on Thursday afternoon.
"Her potential nomination was given new prominence and new political heat," said Maddow, "when Republican senators, led by John McGuess-Who decided that the political traction they could not get before the election in attacking the president for the Benghazi attack, they would try to get instead after the election by attacking Susan Rice for the Benghazi attack."
President Obama stood firm in the face of the attacks on Rice, which makes it all the more startling that Rice has withdrawn her name. In her letter to the president, Rice wrote, "I am highly honored to be considered by you for appointment as Secretary of State. I am fully confident that I could serve our country ably and effectively in that role. However, if nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly -- to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities."
"I am saddened that we have reached this point," she continued, "even before you have decided whom to nominate."
In an interview with NBC's Brian Williams, Rice said that she withdrew her name "for the good of the country." She said that she has never considered herself as a political person, but rather a public servant. "I would have been very honored to serve in that job, just as I'm delighted to do what I'm doing, but yeah, sure. How can you not want, in my field, to serve at the highest possible level?"
Now that Rice has withdrawn, Maddow asked, where does that leave the president? After he so publicly "stuck his neck out" for her, it places him sharply at odds with the three Republican senators who opposed her nomination even before she was nominated. And if Obama nominates Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) to fill the position, where does that leave the Senate?
Maddow was joined by NBC's Andrea Mitchell, who said that it was perhaps inevitable that Rice's name would be withdrawn in that not only was she opposed by people outside the administration, but that some key allies of the president were opposed to her nomination, as well.
Mitchell said that she thinks the administration has weighed the political costs of appearing to back down and believe that the Republicans will pay a higher price. "They have now opposed a woman," Mitchell said, "a very qualified person, a person who went to Stanford, a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and a career diplomat and U.N. ambassador. A person who on paper is very well qualified."
"So having opposed a woman, and a woman of color," she continued, "given what they just experienced in this presidential election, I think the conclusion from the White House is that Republicans will pay a higher price."
Watch the clip, embedded via MSNBC, below:
[image via screencap]