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Washington - Kerry Has 'Big Heels To Fill' At State Dep't

Published on: February 4, 2013 11:37 AM
By: AP
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New Secretary of State John Kerry shows his first diplomatic passport he got when he was eleven years old when his father was in the foreign service, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, during a ceremony welcoming him as the 68th secretary of state, at the State Department in Washington.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)New Secretary of State John Kerry shows his first diplomatic passport he got when he was eleven years old when his father was in the foreign service, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, during a ceremony welcoming him as the 68th secretary of state, at the State Department in Washington.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Washington - New Secretary of State John Kerry reported for duty Monday, acknowledging that as Hillary Rodham Clinton’s successor he has “big heels to fill” and promising to protect U.S. foreign service workers from terrorist attacks overseas.

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On his first day at the office in his new job, the former senator and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate was greeted with loud cheers by employees of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

As the first man in the post in eight years, Kerry referred to his two most recent predecessors, Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, by asking in jest: “Can a man actually run the State Department?”

“I don’t know,” he answered. “As the saying goes, I have big heels to fill.”

Kerry told his new agency’s employees that he and President Barack Obama needed their help to make America safer and the world more prosperous and peaceful.

And after noting the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, Kerry said the protection of American diplomats would be a top priority.

“I guarantee you that beginning this morning when I report for duty upstairs, everything I do will be focused on the security and safety of our people,” he said.

Kerry, 69, is the son of a diplomat and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for 28 years — chairman since 2009. He spoke of his childhood time in Germany and learning the virtues of freedom.

As a 12-year-old in postwar Berlin of the 1950s, Kerry recounted how he could have caused a diplomatic incident by riding his bicycle around the destroyed and divided German capital, past the burnt out Reichstag and the Brandenburg gate and — using his first diplomatic passport — into the Soviet-controlled eastern part of the city.

“If the tabloids today knew I had done that, I can see the headlines that say, ‘Kerry’s Early Communist Connections!’” he joked, before describing more seriously how he explained to his irritated parents why he felt the need to cross the Iron Curtain.

“There were very few people. They were dressed in dark clothing. They kind of held their heads down. I noticed all this,” Kerry said. “There was no joy in those streets. And when I came back, I felt this remarkable sense of relief and a great lesson about the virtue of freedom and the virtue of the principles and ideals that we live by and that drive us.”

Kerry is likely to spend much of the week reaching out to foreign leaders. Over the weekend, he spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as the foreign ministers of Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Canada and Mexico.


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Read Comments (9)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Feb 04, 2013 at 12:09 PM Mark Levin Says:

I would have said big pants.

2

 Feb 04, 2013 at 12:10 PM MarkTwain2 Says:

Yes,he will never copy all of her accomplishments because he cannot become first lady. That said Hillary is overrated and wouldn't have gotten anywhere without identifying as Bills wife.

3

 Feb 04, 2013 at 12:39 PM klein-kup Says:

Reply to #2  
MarkTwain2 Says:

Yes,he will never copy all of her accomplishments because he cannot become first lady. That said Hillary is overrated and wouldn't have gotten anywhere without identifying as Bills wife.

"wouldn't have gotten anywhere without identifying as Bills wife.”

No kidding Isn't the other way around? she 'made him' and protected him from his self destructive behavioral tendencies, what a heroine! .

4

 Feb 04, 2013 at 12:48 PM Kzler Says:

Reply to #1  
Mark Levin Says:

I would have said big pants.

You would even pass the clerical examen at the State Dept.

5

 Feb 04, 2013 at 01:52 PM Kzler Says:

Reply to #3  
klein-kup Says:

"wouldn't have gotten anywhere without identifying as Bills wife.”

No kidding Isn't the other way around? she 'made him' and protected him from his self destructive behavioral tendencies, what a heroine! .

Had she left him after his affair his political career would have been finished and she won the N.Y. senate seat and a Yale law degree did not harm either

6

 Feb 04, 2013 at 02:41 PM Yiddl Says:

Reply to #5  
Kzler Says:

Had she left him after his affair his political career would have been finished and she won the N.Y. senate seat and a Yale law degree did not harm either

Did u follow her schedule the past few years? She left him (:

8

 Feb 04, 2013 at 05:00 PM MarkTwain2 Says:

Reply to #3  
klein-kup Says:

"wouldn't have gotten anywhere without identifying as Bills wife.”

No kidding Isn't the other way around? she 'made him' and protected him from his self destructive behavioral tendencies, what a heroine! .

Are you saying Hillarys life path would have been identical had Bill become a band sax player and never entered politics? Could you say the same for Golda Meir?

9

 Feb 04, 2013 at 08:50 PM anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
MarkTwain2 Says:

Are you saying Hillarys life path would have been identical had Bill become a band sax player and never entered politics? Could you say the same for Golda Meir?

Grunwald former editor of Time magazine in memoirs recounts his luncheon with Mrs. Meir. To his surprise she orderered pork chops

10

 Feb 05, 2013 at 08:03 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
anonymous Says:

Grunwald former editor of Time magazine in memoirs recounts his luncheon with Mrs. Meir. To his surprise she orderered pork chops

"she orderered pork chops"

so did Netanyahu at a white house dinner, which had a kosher choice on the menu!

11

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