Susan Rice to top foreign policy post in Obama power play (+video)
President Obama is naming Susan Rice as his national security adviser, a bold show of support for a close confidante amid continuing controversy over Benghazi. Samantha Power will replace her at the UN.
President Obama is recasting his foreign policy team, with the promotion of United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice to national security adviser, replacing Tom Donilon. Samantha Power, an Obama foreign policy adviser and Pulitzer Prize-winning author on human rights, will be nominated as UN ambassador.Skip to next paragraph
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Mr. Obama’s elevation of Ambassador Rice to the top foreign policy position in the White House represents a bold move that angers some Republicans. The sharp-tongued Rice has been at the center of controversy over her public statements on the terror attack last year on US facilities in Benghazi, Libya. The brouhaha, which continues to this day, squelched her chances of becoming secretary of State.
But Obama has remained steadfastly loyal to Rice, who joined his first presidential campaign despite her years of service in the Clinton administration. She shared candidate Obama’s opposition to the Iraq War, and became a close confidante on foreign policy. Now she will have the job she reportedly wanted from the start.
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“Rice's promotion places her at the epicenter of foreign-policy decisionmaking in a senior-level White House position that is arguably more influential than secretary of state, given its close proximity to the president,” writes John Hudson at ForeignPolicy.com. “She replacesTom Donilon, a cautious realist who has amassed immense influence over Obama's foreign policy in his 2-1/2 years on the job.”
The choice of Rice and Ms. Power also signals Obama’s intention to put women in key policy jobs. During his first term, the president faced criticism for running a fairly male-centric White House. Rice will be the second woman and third African-American to serve as national security adviser, after Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell.
One of Rice’s biggest achievements as UN ambassador came in 2011, when she used her muscle to get the UN Security Council to approve a “no-fly zone” over Libya, paving the way for a successful multinational effort to oust strongman Muammar Qaddafi.