1

Obama nominating Kerry for secretary of state

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.

Comments

Bulldawg 1 year, 4 months ago

Just when we thought we had heard everything, this happens. John Kerry needs to be secretary of state like Bernie Madoff needs to be head of the federal reserve. Give me a break.

0

VSU 1 year, 4 months ago

Surprised? Couldn't expect anything different.

0

waltspecht 1 year, 4 months ago

Wonder how many Medals he will nominate himself for in this new role?

0

Trustbuster 1 year, 4 months ago

Maybe our foreign policy will be swift boated.

0

FryarTuk 1 year, 4 months ago

State needs a person who can direct activities on the ground without getting into nation building.

0

waltspecht 1 year, 4 months ago

For who? Certainly not the American People! Or don't you know any Vietnam Vet that was characterised by this individual as a pot smoking, baby killing, ear collecting indiscriminate killer of unarmed Villagers. Then there is the question of the medals he put himself in for, as well as the three questionable purple hearts that made his tour only last four months. Which he threw across the Whitehouse Wall, only to be reclaimed when it was politically expedient.

0

RedEric 1 year, 4 months ago

Don't the democrats have anyone who is not a renowned liar? He should fit in real well.

0

Jimboob 1 year, 4 months ago

Shame on you all. John Kerry has done more for this country than all of you combined. That what comes from political lies that some believe to this day. Shame on you all and shame on Karl Rove for the lies.

0

Bulldawg 1 year, 4 months ago

What planet are you on,Jimboob? John Kerry is just another notch on America's wall of shame. Do you write your drivel to incite arguments, or does your stupidity just come naturally. Does us all a favor and keep comments like these to yourself. By your logic we can assume that Richard Nixon was a good President along with Clinton and Obama. Ask anybody, and they will tell you that dog won't hunt.

0

VSU 1 year, 3 months ago

I think it just comes natural.

0

Bubbavet_rureel 1 year, 4 months ago

Finally, no race comments! sister, brother, etc..

0

VSU 1 year, 3 months ago

You just made one...go figure.

0

oldster 1 year, 3 months ago

We should not be surprised at what is happening to America, be it political appointments, financial collapse, etc. We are presiding over the decline and fall of a once great country. Merry Christmas to all squawkers, God Bless you.

0

Sign in to comment