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Washington - Obama Nominating Kerry For Secretary Of State

Published on: December 21, 2012 10:32 AM
By: AP
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U.S. Senator John Kerry. REUTERS/Andrew InnerarityU.S. Senator John Kerry. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity

Washington - President Barack Obama on Friday will nominate Sen. John Kerry as his next secretary of state, a senior administration official said, making the first move in a sweeping overhaul of his national security team heading into a second term.

If confirmed, Kerry would take the helm at the State Department from outgoing Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has long stated her intentions to leave early next year. Kerry, a longtime Massachusetts senator, is expected to be easily approved for the Cabinet post by his longtime Capitol Hill colleagues.

Obama will announce Kerry’s nomination from the White House, said the official, who requested anonymity in order to discuss the president’s decision before the announcement.


It was unclear whether Clinton would attend the announcement. The secretary fell and suffered a concussion last week, State Department officials said, and hasn’t made public appearances since then.

Kerry’s nomination could bring to a close what has become for the White House a contentious and distracting effort to name a new secretary of state.

Kerry was the Democratic nominee for president in 2004, losing a close election to incumbent George W. Bush. He’s a decorated Vietnam veteran who was critical of the war effort when he returned to the U.S., even testifying in front of the Senate committee he eventually chaired.

Kerry’s only other rival for the job, U.N. ambassador Susan Rice, faced harsh criticism from congressional Republicans for her initial accounting of the deadly September attack on Americans in Benghazi, Libya. Obama vigorously defended Rice, a close friend and longtime adviser, but GOP senators dug in, threatening to hold up her nomination if the president tapped her for the post.

Rice withdrew her name from consideration last week, making Kerry all but certain to become the nominee. People familiar with the White House’s decision-making said support within the administration was moving toward Kerry even before Rice pulled out.

Kerry, 69, is the first Cabinet nomination Obama has made since winning a second term, and the first piece in an extensive shuffle of his national security team. The president is also expected soon to nominate a new defense secretary to take over for retiring Leon Panetta and a new director of the Central Intelligence Agency to replace former spy chief David Petreaus, who resigned last month after admitting to an affair with his biographer.

Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has long sought the nation’s top diplomatic post. Obama considered him for the job after the 2008 election before picking Clinton in a surprise move.

Since then, Obama has dispatched Kerry around the world on his behalf numerous times, particularly to tamp down diplomatic disputes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was also part of Obama’s debate preparations team during the 2012 election, playing the role of Republican challenger Mitt Romney in mock debates.

Kerry also won praise from Obama aides for his sharp national security-focused speech at the Democratic National Convention in August. He memorably told delegates: “Ask Osama bin Laden if he’s better off now than he was four years ago.”

Before nominating Kerry, the White House consulted with congressional Democrats about the fate of the Senate seat he has held for five terms. An open seat in Massachusetts could give recently defeated Republican Sen. Scott Brown a chance to win back a job in Washington.

Democrats have sought to assure the White House that the party has strong potential candidates in the state that could keep Kerry’s seat from falling into Republican hands.

Kerry has pushed the White House’s national security agenda in the Senate with mixed results. He ensured ratification of a nuclear arms reduction treaty in 2010 and most recently failed to persuade Republicans to back a U.N. pact on the rights of the disabled.

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Read Comments (9)  —  Post Yours »


 Dec 21, 2012 at 10:44 AM Barry521 Says:

Just what this country needs. Another buffoon!
Was in the waiting room at a hospital waiting for my appointment, when Kerry, who served in Viet Nam, came on the tv. The gentlemen sitting next to me, spoke out upon seeing Kerry, saying everything said about him in the book Swift-boat, was true, and more.
Asked him how he knew so much about it, and he replied, I served with this coward, and charlatan in Viet Nam on a different swift-boat in his flotilla.
He then went on recalling all the garbage this charlatan has done, standing up in the Senate, calling our GI'S baby killers, tossing his ill-gotten medals over the White House fence, etc.
This guy doesn't know the difference between his rear-end, and his brain.


 Dec 21, 2012 at 10:55 AM DRE53 Says:

Mr. Kerry was voted down by the american people 8 years ago. Why would obama seek to nominate him to represent us when we clearly expressed our opinin?


 Dec 21, 2012 at 11:04 AM Geulah Says:

Reply to #2  
DRE53 Says:

Mr. Kerry was voted down by the american people 8 years ago. Why would obama seek to nominate him to represent us when we clearly expressed our opinin?

Our opinion is outweighed, grossly, by the political deference paid to supporters of the ruling party. No different than a Pope making a supporter a Cardinal in the middle ages or a King making a nobleman out of a blacksmith.


 Dec 21, 2012 at 11:26 AM RebKlemson Says:

another big fan of israel


 Dec 21, 2012 at 12:12 PM maitiv Says:

And interestingly enough, he knew nothing of any Jewish connections, but his grandfather was born Kohn in Nikolsburg, and his grandmother was a Loewy from Budapest whose family perished in the Holocaust. But he thought he was a real Boston Irish until he ran for president and someone prepared a genealogy.


 Dec 21, 2012 at 12:35 PM chaimme Says:

will he be a friend to Israel?


 Dec 21, 2012 at 01:21 PM Ex-service member Says:

To #1-Barry521- John Kerry served his country honorably in Vietnam. He did not seek to avoid military service, and was exposed to continuous danger, while patroling the Mekong River, for Viet Cong guerrillas. The people who made the so-called swift boat ads, were fellow veterans who were out to defame Kerry, because of his anti-Vietnam war views, when he returned home. Unfortunately, there were GI's, who engaged in atrocities against the Vietnamese people; the latter fact has been well documented. Yet, nearly 40 years after that horrible war ended, there are still many people with blinders on. The case of Lt. William Calley was not an aberration, in the field. There were many other Lt. Calley's, who engaged in despicable crimes, against civilians, which went unpunished. Kerry was only trying to bring that fact to the attention of the American people. He was rewarded by being "swift-boated", by his fellow veterans, who didn't want to hear the truth. I believe that Sen. Kerry will make an excellent Secretary of State.


 Dec 22, 2012 at 06:48 PM 5TResident Says:

Just when you think Obama could not do anything stupider...


 Dec 22, 2012 at 11:53 PM Anonymous Says:

Yuck. The man is just plain creepy. He basically lost his chance at the presidency because he lied too much. Why in the world would anyone trust him now?


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