U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has withdrawn her name from consideration for Secretary of State. Rice was once considered the frontrunner for the position, but a major Republican offensive made it look like she would face a tough confirmation battle, and that 60 votes in the Senate would be hard to come by.
In withdrawing her name from the Secretary of State running, Susan Rice save the Obama Administration a major fight, but also hands the Republicans a victory. By successfully boxing her out, Senate Republicans showed that they still wield clout, despite being the minority.
With Rice out, speculation will turn to John Kerry, someone Obama might want to avoid picking because he is a sitting senator. Many have advocated for Kerry (including Republicans) and he is on Obama's short list. The drawback is that his nomination would trigger a special election, and, while Democrats would have to scramble to find a good candidate, Republicans would almost certainly nominate Scott Brown, who would have a good shot at getting back into the Senate (on his third election in four years!), and bringing the GOP one seat closer to taking back the Senate. Still, up until now, almost all of the Secretary of State talk has centered on Susan Rice and John Kerry, and Rice is now out of the picture.