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U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on withdrawing her name from consideration as a nominee for U.S. Secretary of State:
I grew up in Washington, D.C., and I’ve seen plenty of battles over politics and policy. But a national security appointment, much less a potential one, should never be turned into a political football. There are far bigger issues at stake. So I concluded this distraction has to stop.

This was the right call, for four reasons.

First, my commitment to public service is rooted in the belief that our nation’s interests must be put ahead of individual ones. I’ve devoted my life to serving the United States and trying to mend our imperfect world. That’s where I want to focus my efforts, not on defending myself against baseless political attacks.

Second, I deeply respect Congress’s role in our system of government. After the despicable terrorist attacks that took the lives of four colleagues in Benghazi, our government must work through serious questions and bring the perpetrators to justice. We must strengthen security at our diplomatic posts and improve our intelligence in a volatile Middle East. Accomplishing these goals is far more important than political fights or personal attacks.

NBC's Andrea Mitchell:
I think this had become sort of an impossible challenge for her to be confirmed, that she realized that, the White House realized it as well. I think they know they are on good political solid ground, as you were just pointing out. This is not going to help Republicans at all, the fact that a woman and a woman of color has been forced out of a confirmation process even before she was nominated.

She clearly was the president's choice, but I think what happened is that it became untenable, that they began to look through -- the critics began to look through all sorts of other aspects of her background, her finances, the kinds of things that would normally come out in a confirmation but she didn't have the defense, the group around her that you would have if you were the nominee from the White House if you had been vetted and had that whole array of defenses. She was on her own really and left hanging.

Charles Pierce at Esquire:
Congratulations to John McCain and Lindsey Graham. They got the head they wanted for the wall of the He-Man Woman Haters Club. They ginned up a fake controversy, got enough people to buy it, and then got the president to decide that they would be the ones to decide who the next Secretary Of State is. Good job, all of you, including you, Mr. President. Seriously.

And note to John Kerry — don't take the job. Tell your old buddies to stuff it. You don't want to walk into the State Department over a body that's still warm.

Ruth Marcus at The Washington Post:
although I do not think this was conscious on the part of her critics, I cannot help but believe that the attack had something to do with Rice’s gender, and her bristly, non-traditionally feminine demeanor. As I wrote a few weeks ago, “The model of female leader has morphed from Iron Lady to soft power. And the controversy over Rice stems in part from the fact that she does not fit comfortably into this model of collegial, nurturing, division-healing woman.”
Tom DeFrank, USA Today:
There's no doubt Obama's defense of Rice was heartfelt. But any president, even one fresh from a convincing re-election victory, has only so much political capital to expend. He knew Rice's nomination would have precipitated a legislative food fight with Senate Republicans whose goodwill â?? and votes â?? he needs for the titanic budget battles ahead.

He probably could have gotten Rice confirmed by the Senate, but it would have been a Pyrrhic victory, consuming vast sums of political chips as messy confirmation hearings dragged on for weeks.

White House political handlers understood that Rice was simply too much of a liability to Obama's strategic agenda, and his legacy, over the next four years. Simply stated, she flunked the risk-reward test.

Robert Nolan at US News & World Report runs down the women who made their mark in 2012 and explains why we need more female voice:
As a producer of global affairs television programming for the better part of the past decade, I've long been dismayed by the fact that the pool of guests we're often forced to draw from is so heavily male-dominated. In my experience, women tend approach the global challenges America faces through a different prism from men, and not always in ways we might be predetermined to think. In an era when creative thinking is critical to addressing international challenges like the fallout from the Arab Spring, dealing with defense spending cuts and fighting terrorism—not to mention a host of "soft" power challenges like global development and human rights—we need as many policy perspectives as we can get.

 [...] [T]he Beltway brouhaha that has dominated discussion on Rice has largely overshadowed her real achievements in Turtle Bay, where she convinced both Russia and China to support the U.N. Security Council mandate that led to the NATO intervention in Libya. She also was instrumental in pushing for some of the harshest U.N. sanctions against Iran for its suspected nuclear program, and has taken a similarly strong line against the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad.

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