Rice pulls out of race to replace Clinton
After hearing that US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, had taken herself out of the running to replace Hillary Clinton as America's next Secretary of State, her Russian counterpart in New York, Vitaly Churkin, said he would be asking Moscow for double pay if that meant she was staying at the Security Council for the next four years.
Maybe he was intimating that Ms Rice was an admirable adversary, yet Mr Churkin seemed also to be hinting that he finds her insufferable. Abrasive is a word most often attached to her.
Ms Rice withdrew from consideration for the job late on Thursday in a letter to US President Barack Obama, acknowledging that the grief she had taken from Republicans over statements she made in the wake of the attacks in September on the US consulate in Benghazi meant her confirmation was certain to be a struggle.
The campaign to block Ms Rice's nomination, led by senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, started before the November election and was initially part of an effort to help Mitt Romney and discredit Mr Obama's record on the Middle East and the terror threat. Then when Ms Rice had the chance to explain herself on Capitol Hill at the end of last month, she blew it.
That was surely when Mr Obama decided to cut her loose. It would be naive to assume that she decided to write the letter without prompting from the White House. Mr Obama is stuck in fraught negotiations with the Republicans to avert a looming wave of tax hikes and spending cuts. The body of Ms Rice was an offering.
Mr Obama has the luxury of a fall-back option for Mrs Clinton's job: Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since 2009.
There is speculation that Ms Rice will be offered the post of national security adviser but it seems unlikely. (© Independent News Service)