U.N. Ambassador Danforth Resigns

U.N. Ambassador John Danforth (search) said Friday that he took himself out of the running for any job in President Bush's second term because he wanted to go home to Missouri.

Speaking to reporters the day after his resignation as U.S. envoy to the United Nations was confirmed, Danforth said he decided he didn't want "to sign on for a four-year stint at this point in my life."

"I want to go home. It's just that simple," the 68-year-old former Missouri senator said. "What's most important to me is my wife and my home and having more time with both. I'm a St. Louis guy. That's the place I love, and my wife of 47 years."

Danforth, a Republican former Missouri senator, was confirmed to the post by the Senate at the end of June. An Episcopalian priest, he was thrust into the national spotlight after being chosen to officiate at President Reagan's state funeral.

Danforth replaced John Negroponte (search), who is U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Danforth had been named as a possible replacement for retiring Secretary of State Colin Powell (search), but the nomination was given to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. Her assistant, Stephen Hadley, is taking her place at the top of the National Security Council.

Danforth said he wanted to make clear to the White House that he wanted to return to private life.

"In fact, three days after the election, I talked to the president's chief of staff Andy Card and told him that what ... my wife and I want to do is go home," he said.

Danforth, 68, led an investigation of the Waco Branch Davidian affair during President Clinton's administration, and President Bush named him special envoy for peace in Sudan.

An administration official told FOX News that Danforth informed Bush immediately after the election that he wanted to leave his post for personal reasons. The official said Danforth is not being considered for another post.

Danforth sent the president a letter Nov. 22, saying that on Jan. 20, it was his intention to retire to his home in St. Louis.

He also said he would continue to be available for short-term projects but intended to spend time with his wife, Sally, said his spokesman, Richard Grenell. Sally Danforth is still suffering from the effects of a serious fall about 1 1/2 years ago.

Danforth received a reply from Bush on Nov. 27, though Grenell would not disclose its contents.

The resignation comes right as the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food scandal is heating up. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has been pressured by some to resign for his alleged complicity in allowing Saddam Hussein to bribe officials at the international body in exchange for a blind eye to his weapons build-up and support for the end to sanctions on Iraq.

Some members of Congress have suggested withholding funds to the agency until the Oil-for-Food scandal is resolved.

Danforth's resignation comes the same day Bush announced his nomination of Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns to lead the Agriculture Department. On Friday, Bush named former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik as a nominee to replace retiring Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, while Health and Human Services Secretary formally announced his resignation.

The flurry of moves came as Bush reshaped his team for his second term in office. Seven members of the 15-member Cabinet have submitted their resignations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.