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Kerry stays quiet as Cabinet speculation swirls

This Nov. 13, 2012 file photo shows Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Sen. .John Kerry, D-Mass. pursued by reporters as he arrives for a closed-door meetin on Capitol Hill in Washington. Kerry is angling for the nation’s top diplomatic job by being diplomatic. He's asking supporters not to overtly lobby on his behalf, a strategy reflecting both his disdain for Washington’s personnel politics and a recognition that if Obama taps Rice instead, Kerry will have to shepherd her difficult nomination through the Senate committee he runs.

This Nov. 13, 2012 file photo shows Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Sen. .John Kerry, D-Mass. pursued by reporters as he arrives for a closed-door meetin on Capitol Hill in Washington. Kerry is angling for the nation’s top diplomatic job by being diplomatic. He's asking supporters not to overtly lobby on his behalf, a strategy reflecting both his disdain for Washington’s personnel politics and a recognition that if Obama taps Rice instead, Kerry will have to shepherd her difficult nomination through the Senate committee he runs.

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kerry is angling to be the nation's top diplomat by being, well, diplomatic.

The longtime Massachusetts lawmaker has largely stayed quiet while President Barack Obama considers him for his next secretary of state. Kerry has asked his supporters to avoid lobbying the White House on his behalf. And he's defended his chief rival for the State Department post, Susan Rice, amid Republican criticism of her explanation of the deadly attack on Americans in Libya.

Kerry's strategy reflects what people close to the senator say is his disdain for some aspects of Washington's personnel politics. But it also underscores his awkward role in the process. If Obama taps Rice for the job Kerry covets, the senator will have to shepherd her nomination through the foreign relations committee he runs.