Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has reportedly taken sides in the ongoing question of who President Barack Obama will select to replace her: She wants Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) over embattled U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.
“Hillary is not close to Rice, who is tough — but is not the friendliest person,” a “top White House source” told Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed. “And Hillary’s brief comment recently that Rice had done ‘a great job’ was considered underwhelming and tepid.”
Clinton gave her first words of support for Rice on Wednesday, yet hardly endorsed her for the job.
“Susan Rice has done a great job as our ambassador to the United Nations,” she said. “Of course, this decision about my successor is up to the president, but I am very happy he has the opportunity with a second term to make a decision.”
Rice is considered the top contender for the post, despite heavy criticism and objections from Republican senators over her initial comments calling the deadly terror assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya a response to an anti-Islam film. The attack was later classified as terrorism, and Rice said she was going off the best information given to her at the time and said she did not intentionally mislead anyone. Rice met privately with senators earlier this week, a meeting Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) left her “more troubled” than before.
A major consideration in Obama picking Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, would be whether his vacant seat would be left vulnerable for a Republican challenger.
Kerry has also been mentioned as a possible nominee for secretary of defense.