Obama is pushing Susan Rice for secretary of state job: sources

Former National Security adviser Susan Rice views Mike Pompeo’s faith and role in government as a bad mix

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has often spoken publicly about his Christian faith. Former National Security advisor Susan Rice believes there is cause for concern if Pompeo is not representing all religions as America’s top foreign policy official.

Former President Obama is pushing for President-elect Biden to nominate his former national security adviser Susan Rice for secretary of state, sources close to Biden tell Fox News. 

Rice, a longtime Washington insider, was vetted by the Biden team when she made the “shortlist” of Biden’s potential picks for vice president, before Sen. Kamala Harris was ultimately chosen. In 2008, Obama nominated Rice to serve as United Nations ambassador, before making her national security adviser in 2013. 

Rice already has the necessary clearances to prep for the job, bypassing an ascertainment delay from the General Services Administration. 

Some Democrats worry she might have a confirmation problem in a closely divided Senate after her involvement in the Benghazi attacks, but sources closer to Biden dismissed that thought. 

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In the aftermath of the attacks on Benghazi, Libya, which killed four people, then-U.N. ambassador Rice appeared on TV in place of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to recite “talking points” from a CIA memo. She said the attacks were spontaneous and the result of an anti-Muslim video made by an American. This theory was later debunked.  

Sources close to Biden also say Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., is jockeying for the role. His appointment would not deplete Democratic ranks in the Senate due to Delaware’s Democratic governor. Coons sits on the Foreign Relations committee. 

Other potentials include Tony Blinken and Willliam Burns, both former deputy secretaries of state, and Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

Rice’s office could not be reached for comment on whether she is interested in the role, but the former national security adviser expressed interest in serving a Biden administration when she was considered for Biden’s running mate. 

"I think I could bring my experience of almost now 20 years in the senior levels of the executive branch to bear to help tackle the most pressing problems we face," she said, making her case to NPR’s Morning Edition.

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"If there's an opportunity to serve again, I'm certainly eager to do so, but not because it's something that I want for myself," she added.

"I've been blessed to have served already at the highest levels. But if at a time when we are suffering domestically and internationally, people with skills and experience are asked to come back, my judgment is they should say yes, even if it may not be the best thing for them personally."

Fox News' Jacqui Heinrich contributed to this report. 

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