McCain, Graham Praise Rice for Withdrawal Decision

Thursday, 13 Dec 2012 06:56 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Republicans were more measured in their responses on Thursday to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s withdrawal for possible consideration as Secretary of State.

"I respect Ambassador Rice’s decision,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a statement to NBC News. “President Obama has many talented people to choose from to serve as our next Secretary of State.”

Graham, along with Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, had sought to pre-empt President Barack Obama from nominating Rice to succeed outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Rice, who had come under intense fire for her initial comments on the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya that killed four Americans, told NBC on Thursday that she no longer wanted Obama to consider her for the position.

She said in a letter to the president that she feared a confirmation fight in the Senate "would be lengthy, disruptive and costly."

“Senator McCain thanks Ambassador Rice for her service to the country and wishes her well,” McCain’s office said in a statement.

Both McCain and Graham expressed continued concern about the Benghazi incident in their statements, and said they would continue their efforts to probe the matter, NBC reports.

Another Senator, Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of Senate Armed Services Committee and member of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was less measured, saying Rice made the right choice after misleading the nation on Benghazi.

“Ambassador Rice’s decision to remove her name from being considered for Secretary of State is best for the country,” said Inhofe. “Her involvement in misleading the public on the Benghazi attacks was deeply troubling, and I continue to believe that this was a highly coordinated effort to cover up for the lack of requested security necessary to prevent this tragedy resulting in the deaths of four American public servants. I do, however, appreciate Ambassador Rice for maintaining our strong national security ties to important African nations like Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda.

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