United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice speaks with an aide during a meeting of the Security Council during the 67th U.N. General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. (AP)
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is dropping her name from consideration for secretary of state, NBC News reported Thursday.
In a letter to President Barack Obama obtained by NBC, Rice wrote, “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."
“That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country...Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time,” she wrote.
Rice was seen as one of the top contenders to be nominated to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she steps down.
Obama said in a statement he had accepted Rice's decision to remove her name from consideration, saying she has played an "indispensable role" as U.N. ambassador and was grateful she will continue to serve in that role.
"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 adviser and friend," Obama said.
Rice has come under harsh criticism, primarily from Republicans, 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. It was later labeled a terrorist act.
"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," Obama's statement said, echoing his publicly coming to her defense last month when he said senators who “go after” Rice have “got a problem with me.”
"The American people can be proud to have a public servant of her caliber and character representing our country," he said.
Rice's withdrawal means that Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) is now the likely favorite to get the nomination for the post and could potentially open up an opportunity for Republicans to claim his Senate seat -- particularly just-defeated former Sen. Scott Brown.
This post has been updated.