Susan Rice Highlights Past Virus Response Efforts As She Vies For VP Slot

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Former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice challenged those who have suggested she isn’t a qualified pick for vice president, saying Tuesday that her career has been dedicated to public service over personal political ambition.

“It’s not about one’s own profile,” Rice told CBS when asked about the role of a vice president, adding that while some have suggested she lacks the experience of running for political office, she is proud of a career dedicated to serving others.

“I don’t have a personal political ambition,” Rice said. “I have a longstanding commitment to public service. That’s been what’s defined my career.” 

But Rice, who has recently faced attacks from conservative news hosts and is said to be a strong contender as running mate to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, says she does have a broad list of credentials that would make her a suitable governing partner to Biden. 

During her tenure as Obama’s national security adviser, Rice dealt with the Ebola epidemic, the Zika virus and the H1N1 pandemic.

Rice said that her background as national security adviser in particular would be “very important” in tackling the crises faced by a new administration, including the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recession, and repairing the United States’ position as a global leader, “which is suffering enormously.”

The former Obama administration official told CBS that the previous administration had handled the threat of disease “much more effectively than, unfortunately, we’ve seen as of late.”

She added that a new administration would have “an enormous amount of work to do” to come together, to tackle challenges more effectively “than what we have seen under Donald Trump’s leadership.”

Rice would not comment during the Tuesday interview about whether or not she had met with Biden for vice presidential vetting, but she did say she would bring nearly 20 years of experience at the senior most ranks of the executive branch to the table, adding that she had a track record of “getting things done for the American people,” and wrestling with crises and finding solutions.

Rice has served in two past administrations, including on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, and as U.N. ambassador and eventually national security adviser under Obama.

Biden has said he will select a woman as his running mate. In addition to Rice, he is reportedly considering Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), among others. Rice said she would “whole-heartedly” support whoever Biden chooses and do everything she can to help him get elected in November. 

“I will raise money, I will do the 21st century equivalent of licking envelopes, I’ll serve in whatever capacity that Vice President Biden thinks I can best serve,” Rice said. She added that she views the November presidential election as “the most important election in our lifetimes.” 

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