(CNN) – U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, once a top contender for the office of secretary of state, said "America is fortunate" with Sen. John Kerry as the president's pick to be the country's top diplomat.
"For over four decades, Senator Kerry has served extremely ably and demonstrated selfless commitment to our country," Rice said in a statement.
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Rice was thought to be a front-runner for the post, but she withdrew her name from consideration last week, saying "the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive, and costly."
"That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country," she added.
Rice drew criticism for her description of the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. On television programs several days after the attack, she described a protest of an anti-Islam video outside the mission buildings, though the intelligence community later confirmed the violence as a terrorist attack.
In her statement about Kerry on Friday, she praised the senator, as well as outgoing Secretary Hillary Clinton.
"From his heroic service in the U.S. Navy, his principled opposition to the Vietnam War, and his distinguished tenure in the U.S. Senate, to his wise chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Kerry has led tirelessly and effectively to advance U.S. interests and values around the globe. I have been honored to work with him in the past, and I look forward to working closely with him again on President Obama's national security team.
Like so many, I am also deeply grateful to Secretary Clinton for her exemplary service as Secretary of State. I admire her enormously and greatly appreciate her support and partnership as a valued colleague. Our nation owes Secretary Clinton an enduring debt of gratitude for her many years of outstanding public service. I look forward to witnessing the next chapter in her remarkable story."
– CNN Foreign Affairs Reporter Elise Labott contributed to this report.