Facts about Susan Rice

Susan Rice is 59 years old
Best known as: National Security Advisor for Barack Obama, 2013-17


Susan Rice Biography

Susan Rice is the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations who became President Barack Obama‘s national security advisor in 2013.

Susan Rice went to Stanford University, graduating with honors with a history degree in 1986 and being chosen for Phi Beta Kappa. She then went to New College, Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, receiving an M.Phil (Master’s degree, 1988) and D.Phil. (Ph.D, 1990) in International Relations.

Her first political job was as a foreign policy aide to Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis in 1988. After a stint as a consultant with McKinsey & Company, she joined the administration of President Bill Clinton, first as as the Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping on the National Security Council staff (1993-95) and then as a White House special assistant and the NSC’s Senior Director for African Affairs (1995-97).

Rising fast, she was named Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in 1997 under Madeleine Albright and served there until the end of Clinton’s term in 2001.

She became a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in 2002 and stayed there until becoming a senior foreign policy advisor to Barack Obama in the 2008 elections. Obama won, and he named her the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations when he took office; she was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on 22 January 2009.

She was a success in the job; Vogue called her “young, exceedingly bright, and ambitious” and “a first-class charmer.”

Nonethless, Susan Rice was much in the news in 2012, when Republicans in Congress accused her of making misleading statements for political gain after the attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans on September 11, 2012.

Though nothing ever came of the charge, right-wing commentators and legislators hammered away at the issue, especially as she was considered to be a leading candidate to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Rice finally withdrew her name from consideration for that job on 13 December 2012.

The next year, Obama announced that Susan Rice would become his national security advisor, a position that did not need Senate confirmation. (John Kerry became Secretary of State instead.)

She succeeded Tom Donilan as NSA and continued in that role until Obama’s term ended in 2017, when she left public service for academia.

Extra credit

Her husband, Ian O. Cameron, is a Canadian journalist who worked for ABC News from 1998-2010, including two years (2008-10) as a producer of the Sunday morning political chat show This Week. Rice and Cameron met at Stanford, married in 1992, and have two children: son John David Rice-Cameron (known as Jake, born 1997) and daughter Maris Rice-Cameron (born circa 2003)… Rice is 5’3″ tall, according to a 1998 profile in The Washington Post.


Related Biographies

Something in Common with Susan Rice