Rice Withdraws from Consideration as Secretary of State

12/13/2012, 9:03 p.m.

Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has withdrawn her name from consideration as secretary of state.

Rice, who drew heavy criticism from Republicans over statements she made regarding the Benghazi attacks in September that killed four Americans, announced her decision on Thursday in a letter to President Barack Obama. Her letter in part read 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."

Obama responded to Rice's withdrawal, stating that she is "an extraordinarily capable, patriotic, and passionate public servant."

Meanwhile, Rice - who was seen as the forerunner to the post that is currently held by Hillary Clinton, said she will continue her duties as ambassador. Clinton announced her plans after Obama' re-election to step down, saying she would make her departure as soon as a successor was confirmed.

Obama has defended Rice's statements on the Benghazi attacks in which Chris Stevens, ambassador to Libya, was killed. According to Obama, the criticism level at Rice from several key Republicans was outrageous.

"If Senator (John) McCain and Senator (Lindsey) Graham and others want to go after someone, they should go after me," Obama said at a White House news conference in late November. "When they go after the U.N. ambassador, apparently because they think she's an easy target, then they've got a problem with me."

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry has now been mentioned as a possible nominee for the secretary of state post.