NBC News is reporting that Susan Rice has asked President Obama to withdraw her name for consideration as his next secretary of state. The network's Tracy Connor writes:
“If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly – to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities,” Rice wrote in a letter to President Obama, saying she’s saddened by the partisan politics surrounding her prospects.
“That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country...Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time,” she wrote in the letter obtained by NBC News. [...]
“The position of secretary of state should never be politicized,” she wrote, adding, “I’m saddened that we have reached this point, even before you have decided whom to nominate. We cannot afford such an irresponsible distraction from the most pressing issues facing the American people.”
FP has obtained a PDF of the full letter, which you can read here. Rice's withdrawal would seem to clear the field for Sen. John Kerry, who is widely thought to be high on President Obama's now slightly shorter shortlist for Foggy Bottom. Coming along with Bloomberg's story today claiming the former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel is likely to be nominated for the Pentagon, it looks like the president's second-term national security team is taking shape. Now we just need to figure out if Tom Donilon will remain the national security advisor, and who will fill David Petraeus's shoes at the CIA.