Washington, June 6 (IANS) In a snub to the Republicans, President Barack Obama named long time confidante Susan Rice, who had courted political controversy with her remarks on the Benghazi terrorist attack, as his national security adviser.
Currently US ambassador to UN, Rice, who would replace the retiring Tom Donilon in the influential foreign policy post, had courted controversy with her comments and lost out to John Kerry for the job of secretary of state.
In a White House Rose Garden appearance, Obama announced that Donilon would step down in July following this weekend's meetings between Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The president also said he would nominate Samantha Power of the National Security Council to succeed Rice at the United Nations.
Obama's decision to name Rice as NSA has angered Republicans who suggest that Rice's comments after the Sep 11 terrorist attack was a politically motivated effort to downplay the Benghazi attack in the middle of last year's election campaign.
Praising Rice for being "fearless, tough" and a great patriot who champions justice and human dignity, Obama, with a smiling Rice at his side, said: "I'm absolutely thrilled she'll be back at my side, leading my national security team for my second term."
Power, senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights at the National Security Council, worked for Obama's campaign in 2008 until she resigned after referring to Obama's rival Hillary Clinton as a "monster".
Welcoming the announcements, Secretary of State John Kerry described Rice as "an indefatigable advocate, a first-rate diplomat, and she has an incredibly sharp mind."
"Samantha Power is also a kindred spirit and a fierce advocate," said Kerry describing her "as smart as she is skilled, and she will head to the United Nations to ably advance America's interests on national security challenges best addressed by unified multilateral action."
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)