CT Politics

Connecticut Politics

Rep. Barbara Lee blames “radical right” on sinking Susan Rice

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Reaction is rolling in to UN Ambassador Susan Rice withdrawing her name from consideration for Secretary of State — and East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, for one, is ticked:

“I am profoundly disappointed that Ambassador Rice, such a well qualified woman of color, would be denied the opportunity to become our next Secretary of State due to the baseless and manufactured allegations of the radical right.

“I have known and worked closely with Ambassador Susan Rice for many years—on many global issues. From the genocide in Sudan to the ongoing violence in Syria, the humanitarian crisis in Haiti and the global HIV/AIDS crisis. Ambassador Rice works each and every day to advance the highest ideals of our country and would have been an outstanding Secretary of State.”

Rep. Karen Bass, D-LA, said “it 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.”

Here’s what Rice told NBC’s Brian Williams tonight. (You can check out the complete interview at 10 p.m. Thursday on “Rock Center with Brian Williams.”) Short answer: She felt like she was becoming a distraction to the Administration’s priorities:

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Here’s the text of what Rice told Bri:

Today, I made the decision that it was the best thing for our country, for the American people, that I not continue to be considered by the President for nomination of Secretary of State. I didn’t want to see a confirmation process that was very prolonged, very politicized, very distracting, and very disruptive because there are so many things we need to get done as a country, and the first several months of a second term president’s agenda is really the opportunity to get the crucial things done. We’re talking about comprehensive immigration reform, balanced deficit reduction, job creation – that’s what matters. And to the extent that my nomination could have delayed or distracted or deflected, or maybe even some of these priorities impossible to achieve, I didn’t want that, and I much prefer to keep doing what I’m doing which is a job I love at the United Nations.

Here’s President Obama’s statement:

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 UN 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 advisor 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.

Joe Garofoli

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