U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was long rumored to be President Obama's choice for Secretary of State, but — as it was understood before today — her viability faltered under the controversy surrounding comments she gave during several Sunday talk shows a few days after the September 11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and she eventually withdrew herself from consideration for the State Department post. According to a Boston Globe report out today, however, the end of her ordealwhich intensified in the weeks before she took herself out of the running, was pretty much for naught. It turns out that John Kerry got the job right after John McCain called him "Mr. Secretary" as a joke:

Kerry said President Obama offered him the job of secretary of state a week before United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from contention, an earlier timeline than has been previously reported.

"You're my choice. I want you to do this," Obama reportedly told Kerry, who was instructed not to tell anyone. (Obama announced Kerry's nomination on December 21 — a week after Rice's withdrawal.) The timeline adds to the confusion over how the Obama administration vets and defends its preferred cabinet nominees. Kerry's confirmation was almost comically smooth, yet Chuck Hagel's nomination and confirmation was mired in controversy after controversy about Hagel's past statements, so it's unclear why Obama wanted to defend Hagel — a former Republican! — and not one of his closest advisors.

Meanwhile, it's Hillary Clinton's last day at Foggy Bottom.