The Straits Times
Published on Dec 14, 2012

With Rice out, US lawmakers eye Kerry for State


WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Republican and Democratic senators were fiercely split over Susan Rice's withdrawal on Thursday as candidate for Secretary of State, but they appeared to unite over a likely replacement: Senator John Kerry.

UN ambassador Rice, a close ally of President Barack Obama, had been a frontrunner to replace Mrs Hillary Clinton as Washington's top diplomat but fell foul of a row over the administration's reaction to the attacks in Benghazi, Libya on Sept 11 this year.

Republicans who strongly opposed Ms Rice's bid welcomed her decision to back down, while Democrats voiced their disappointment.

"I think it's the right decision," Republican Senator John Barrasso told reporters. "Her reporting after the 9/11 attacks, to me, was when she disqualified herself for that position."