Rice quits top diplomat quest
She bows out as GOP senators continued to doubt qualifications; Kerry now likely choice.
WASHINGTON — Susan Rice, the beleaguered U.N. ambassador, withdrew from consideration to be the next secretary of state on Thursday after a standofi with Republican senators who declared they would ffight to defeat her nomination.
The announcement makes Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry the likely choice to be the nation’s next top diplomat when Hillary Clinton departs soon.
Rice withdrew when it became clear her political troubles were not going away, and support inside the White House for her potential nomination had been waning in recent days, administration officials said.
In another part of the upcoming Cabinet shake-up for President Barack Obama’s second term, former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska now is seen as the front-runner to be defense secretary, with official word expected as soon as next week.
For the newly re-elected president, Rice’s withdrawal was a political setback. When Rice announced she was stepping aside, Obama used the occasion to criticize Republicans who were opposed to her possible nomination.
“While I deeply regret the