“I’m glad,” Gingrey said. “I’m absolutely pleased. I think that the president can come up with a more acceptable nominee, and I know he will. There are plenty of qualified people, men, women. Race and gender has nothing to do with it. Susan Rice of course, is a very intelligent individual, a Stanford graduate, Rhodes Scholar, so it’s not a question of intelligence. Certainly because of the Benghazi situation and what happened that Sunday on the five or six different talk shows I think made her not a credible candidate.”
Isakson said it was a good decision.
“She had become so entangled in the misinformation of that Sunday,” Isakson said.
Isakson pointed out the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be giving a secure briefing on the Benghazi topic next Thursday.
“So the facts are coming out as to what really happened, but in the meantime for the better part of really three months she’s been on the end of the spear, taking all the arrows, and the administration has done nothing to help answer the questions of who knew what, when did they know it, when did they know it was a terrorist attack, why did they tell everybody it was a spontaneous attack based on a movie trailer when they knew it wasn’t true. You don’t go on the Sunday shows at the request of the administration without a lap full of talking points,” Isakson said.
The announcement makes Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry the likely choice to be the nation’s next top diplomat when 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.
Isakson spoke favorably of Kerry.
“He’s done a good job as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and his diplomatic skills are good,” Isakson said. “I don’t know that he will be the nominee, but he would certainly be a high choice for that nomination just like Hillary Clinton was when she was nominated. I think he would be very confirmable.”
In another major 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 sharp political setback and a sign of the difficulties Obama faces in a time of divided and divisive government. Already, he had been privately weighing whether picking Rice would cost him political capital he would need on later votes.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report