Green Room

John Kerry: Actually, Obama offered me the job at State a week before Susan Rice “withdrew”

posted at 2:04 pm on February 1, 2013 by

Via the Weekly Standard, which speculates that Rice’s “withdrawal” was really a face-saving gesture that the White House permitted her after informing her she wasn’t the pick. Boston Globe:

Kerry said President Obama offered him the job of secretary of state a week before United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from contention, an earlier timeline than has been previously reported.

“He called me, actually a week before Susan got out of the thing,” Kerry said. “He called me and said, ‘You’re my choice. I want you to do this.’ He asked me to keep it quiet. I did. I sat on it.”

I think they’re right that it was a face-saving gesture, but was Rice the second choice all along or was she initially the first choice until O concluded that getting her confirmed was too much of a headache and got cold feet? He talked awfully tough in her defense when McCain went after her, but go re-read Ed’s post on December 5, written eight days before Rice’s “withdrawal.” National Journal reported that day that Obama was “genuinely conflicted” about whether to choose Rice or Kerry, but, per White House sources, Rice had the inside track:

Despite harsh criticism of Rice from Republicans, Obama is leaning hard toward her because she’s been one of his closest advisers since 2007, and “she and the president are on exactly the same page on all foreign-policy issues,” said an Obama team official who is privy to the transition discussions. “She represents Obama’s foreign policy in a way that Kerry doesn’t, in other words a new way of being a Democrat on foreign policy.” It was a reference to Obama’s carefully cultivated self-image as a tough commander in chief willing to apply diplomatic leverage to get what he wants and use power aggressively, especially covertly.

According to Kerry, O called him the next day (or thereabouts) to offer him the job. Sounds like cold feet.

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Whatever. Republicans still hate women. Especially black women.

steebo77 on February 1, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Or Obama was just keeping his options open, if Rice suddenly turned it around he could give Kerry Sec. of Defense or Sec. of Wind Surfing.

Fenris on February 1, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Wow. That John Kerry is a class-act. /snark

BigGator5 on February 1, 2013 at 2:26 PM

And so it begins … even earlier than I expected. The relationship between Teabiscuit and Obuggerme shall at least provide us with what will be sorely needed comic relief over the next few years. The camera and microphone chewing Mr. Fed will forever be neighing and whinnying his way into the spotlight in an effort to upstage the Shetland Organizer.

M240H on February 1, 2013 at 2:30 PM

He asked me to keep it quiet. I did. I sat on it.”

I’m guessing Obama meant for that to stay quiet.

Bitter Clinger on February 1, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Remember, folks. This guy is now our nation’s top diplomat. He’s already demonstrating his mad skillz.

Prufrock on February 1, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Umm.. Isn’t Kerry Susan Rice’s boss now? Way to talk to a top employee there.

Illinidiva on February 1, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Umm.. Isn’t Kerry Susan Rice’s boss now? Way to talk to a top employee there.

Illinidiva on February 1, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Sounds racist to me. There need to be Congressional hearings.

Fenris on February 1, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Gee – it’s almost as if Kerry was the REAL choice all along – Weird, huh?

Pork-Chop on February 1, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Evidently “withdrew” is a nuanced form of “defenestrate”.

apostic on February 1, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Hmm. He said he’d keep that under his hat, yet…
Off to a great start.

scalleywag on February 1, 2013 at 3:10 PM

Rice was never the first choice, Kerry was.

They floated Rice so that Republicans could “win the battle” in a nod to their wingnut base. O knew that no matter who he nominated, republicans would have to make a show of opposing it.

So he gets Kerry, who he wanted all along, republicans can say they blocked a nomination, and Kerry gets nominated with like 97 votes and “the base” doesn’t say anything.

Worked out well for everyone.

Watch for repeats of this trick for every nomination.

Timin203 on February 1, 2013 at 3:29 PM

This, if true, is reason enough to not trust BO with anything important.

Bob's Kid on February 1, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Everyone who watched his act during the Senate Hearings in 1971, knows he is a lying, treasonous POS! How McMcain could cozy up to this man is beyond all rationale and reason!

tomshup on February 1, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Rice was never the first choice, Kerry was.

They floated Rice so that Republicans could “win the battle” in a nod to their wingnut base. O knew that no matter who he nominated, republicans would have to make a show of opposing it.

So he gets Kerry, who he wanted all along, republicans can say they blocked a nomination, and Kerry gets nominated with like 97 votes and “the base” doesn’t say anything.

Worked out well for everyone.

Watch for repeats of this trick for every nomination.

Timin203 on February 1, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Exactly. Rice would have been better than Kerry, too: incompetence is far better than malice.

Caiwyn on February 1, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Hahahaaaaaaa… Priceless, John. Just priceless. Don’t imagine your new boss liked it much.

Kerry is such a pompous self-absorbed bumbling treasonous fool that it’s hard to imagine a worse pick for the job.

petefrt on February 1, 2013 at 4:27 PM

was Rice the second choice all along or was she initially the first choice until O concluded that getting her confirmed was too much of a headache and got cold feet?

My bet is she was Obama’s first choice, with a view toward grooming her to be his successor. Then BJ and Billary lawyered up over Benghazi, and a new deal was struck. Clintons have the goods on Obama on Benghazi, and agreed to bite their tongue only in exchange for certain favors.

petefrt on February 1, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Vintage John F’in Kerry. (Who served in Viet Nam.) Excellent!

First day on the job, and his limitless ego has already caused him to run at the mouth, embarrassing Barky’s administration. (Well, it would have, if Barky’s administration could feel embarrassment. Or shame.) Same for Susan Rice.

bofh on February 1, 2013 at 6:55 PM

Yes, Kerry, you idiot, he’s probably offering your job to someone else now.

Keep this up and you will be the shortest-serving secretary of state with the longest face.

virgo on February 3, 2013 at 1:52 AM