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|December 21, 2014|
Obama nominates John Kerry as secretary of state
President Obama nominated Sen. John F. Kerry to be the next secretary of state on Friday.
Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and his selection all but guarantees a swift, smooth path to confirmation. The lawmaker has been a frequent foreign policy adviser and confidant to Obama, and his long experience means he has bipartisan advocates in the Senate.
Kerry has long sought the post as America’s top diplomat but appeared to be Obama’s second choice after U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice. Rice withdrew her name from consideration this month because of Republican opposition based on her role as administration spokeswoman in the fatal Sept. 11 attack on U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya.
At the State Department, the senator would succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has said she plans to leave at the close of Obama’s first term, although she has pledged to remain in place until a successor is confirmed.
Kerry would take over a department stretched by short budgets and rising security costs overseas, and a diplomatic corps still reeling from the killing of U.S. ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, a rising star whom Kerry knew well. But his experience in foreign policy has earned him the respect of many diplomats.
After his failed 2004 presidential campaign, Kerry became a frequent emissary for the Obama administration overseas. He traveled to Afghanistan in the fall of 2009 and persuaded President Hamid Karzai to accept a runoff election.
The senator played a similar role for the administration in Pakistan, where he helped broker the release of a CIA contractor arrested on suspicion of murder and later persuaded the Pakistanis to return parts of a U.S. stealth helicopter that crashed during the Abbottabad raid that killed Osama bin Laden. He was the first senior U.S. elected official to meet with Mohamed Morsi before and after Morsi became Egypt’s president.
The confirmation hearing for Kerry would take place before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the panel he has chaired since Vice President Biden departed the Senate in 2009.
The next-senior Democrat on the panel is Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), but she said this week that she plans to continue chairing the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Aides confirmed that Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the third-ranking Democrat on the committee, is poised to take over Foreign Relations and chair Kerry’s confirmation hearing. (Source: The Washington Post)
Story Date: December 23, 2012