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The curious case of Susan Rice

FILE - This Aug. 30, 2012 file photo shows US United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice speaking at the United Nations. Republicans lashed out at President Barack Obama and senior administration officials over their evolving description of the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, a late campaign-season broadside challenging the veracity and leadership of an incumbent on the upswing. Credit: AP

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has withdrawn her name from consideration for Secretary of State.

This seemed like a common sense move to most after details about the Benghazi terror attack on 9/11 emerged which contradicted her accounts.  Yet the Obama administration bent over backward in Rice's defense, instead pointing the finger at the intelligence community for supposedly botched information.  So why the change of heart?

It could be that Susan Rice is, herself, a racist.  Republicans were accused of as much for (rightly) questioning her capacity to assume the role of Secretary of State with so many Benghazi questions left unanswered.

It could be that Susan Rice thinks John Kerry would do a better job (ha ha).  (Either way, today has to be a good day for Scott Brown, right?)

But why, after weeks of the administration aggressively defending her record of service, why is Susan Rice suddenly admitting that she wouldn't survive Senate confirmation hearings?  In my mind, this raises more questions about the actual events surrounding the terrorist attack and death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stephens in Benghazi.  If Rice assumed President Obama's nomination, Benghazi would dominate headlines as Republican opponents remind the public of Rice's questionable record.

“That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country," Rice wrote in a letter to the president. "Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time.”

“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 responded.

The whole thing sounds noble but no one in Washington is ever that noble.  A more plausible scenario: President Obama asked Rice to step aside to avoid continued public scrutiny on Benghazi, the death of four Americans and a purported cover-up.  After all, Obama knows he's currently winning the debate over tax hikes and the fiscal cliff -- at least as far as the media's concerned.  Why jeopardize the positive political momentum over a single nomination?

After all, we know John Kerry's always ready to report for duty...

But forget my thoughts... I think Dave Burge had the best analysis of today's developments:

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