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Obama nominates Senator Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State

Saturday, December 22nd 2012 - 07:56 UTC
Full article 11 comments
Kerry's nomination is unlikely to face opposition from Republicans Kerry's nomination is unlikely to face opposition from Republicans

US President Barack Obama has nominated Senator John Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton as his next secretary of state. Mr Obama said Mr Kerry's “entire life” prepared him for the role, and praised him for the “respect and confidence” he has earned from world leaders.

Mr Kerry ran as Democratic presidential candidate in 2004 and is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His nomination comes after the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, withdrew from consideration last week.

Republicans had fiercely criticised her role in the aftermath of the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in September.

Speaking at the White House, Mr Obama said Mr Kerry understood the need to “harness all elements of American power”, and said the veteran senator was “not going to need a lot of on-the-job training”.

The president added that he was sure Mr Kerry would be swiftly confirmed in the Senate.

Mrs Clinton, who is still recuperating from a stomach virus and concussion, was not present for the announcement. But in a statement, Mrs Clinton said Mr Kerry was an “excellent choice” of head for the state department.

“He will be able to sustain and extend America's global leadership,” she said.

Mr Kerry, 69, becomes Mr Obama's first new cabinet nomination since he won a second term in November.

The president will also have to name a new defence secretary to replace Leon Panetta, and a new director of the CIA to take over from David Petraeus, who quit last month after admitting an affair.

Mr Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran, lost a close presidential election to George W Bush in 2004 and had been a contender for the state department in 2008, before Mrs Clinton was chosen.

The BBC's Washington correspondent, Kim Ghattas, says Mr Kerry is well-steeped in the details of world affairs and diplomacy.

She says he has been the Obama administration's unofficial envoy to various hotspots, from Pakistan to Afghanistan.

If confirmed, he will face the problem of ongoing Syrian unrest and continuing concern over Iran's nuclear programme.

Mrs Clinton has indicated she will step down early next year.

Mr Kerry will have to give up his seat in the Senate, where he represents the state of Massachusetts. The Democrats may face a tough battle to keep it in the subsequent election.

Analysts say Mr Kerry's nomination is unlikely to face opposition from Republicans, who had threatened to oppose Ms Rice, despite the president's strong defence of her actions over Libya.

Mr Kerry himself had spoken up for Ms Rice, saying: “I've defended her publicly and wouldn't hesitate to do so again because I know her character and I know her commitment. She's an extraordinarily capable and dedicated public servant.”

Ms Rice's troubles began days after the 11 September assault on the US consulate. She said in a series of TV interviews that it seemed to have developed out of protests over an anti-Islamic film.

But later intelligence reports suggested the attack was carried out by al-Qaeda affiliates. Her comments triggered a major political row over who knew what and when and whether the consulate was adequately protected.

The attack left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

A short résumé on Senator Kerr shows he graduated Graduated from Yale University in 1966; Enlisted in the US Navy and served in the Vietnam War. Honoured with a Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts; Attended Boston College Law School, graduating in 1976; Elected lieutenant governor of Massachusetts in 1982; Entered the US Senate in 1984 and ran as Democratic party candidate for the White House in 2004 narrowly defeated by incumbent George W Bush. Currently he is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate.

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  • TipsyThink

    What a timing !!... following recent school slaughter

    was J.Kerry a Vietnam véteran ?

    Mmmmm, lets watch what US made thére......

    *** 10 % of child population of North Vietnam was killed mainly by US bombers,Another 40,000 suffered birth defects becouse of the US Agent Orange defoliation campaign.Untold thousands continue to die to this day from accidentally detonating unexploded American land minés.

    *** According to American estimates (Pepper Report) there have been 250,000 children killed 750,000 wounded and invalided for life in Southern Vietnam 0f 14,000,000 inhabitánts.The great majority were killed by US bombers which decimated South Vietnam in efforts to destroy the líberation army and its many millions of southern supporters.More than 10,000 sorties by B-52 s have been carried out over North and South Vietnam..each plane has 30 tonnes bombs.

    J.Kerry ! where were you at during Vietnam war .

    USA .what a contemptible country.

    Dec 22nd, 2012 - 10:01 am 0
  • Captain Poppy

    Let's not forget the French before the USA and the Chinese before the French if we are going to talk history. At any rate I am happy to see him leave my state as a Senator.

    Dec 22nd, 2012 - 02:18 pm 0
  • LightThink

    That is an American (US)circus running 24 hours a day 8 days a week and you can spend an infinite amount of time browsing the sweet and bitter end of it at no charge.

    Dec 22nd, 2012 - 05:59 pm 0
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