Obama Nominates Kerry For Secretary Of State

Biden Obama Kerry

To the surprise off absolutely nobody, President Obama formally nominated Senator John Kerry to be the next Secretary of State:

WASHINGTON — President Obama nominated Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts as secretary of state, choosing an elder of the Democratic Party’s foreign policy establishment and a crucial political ally in the Senate to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“In a sense, John’s entire life has prepared him for this role,” Mr. Obama said, making the widely expected announcement at the White House. “He’s not going to need a lot of on-the-job training.”

With Mr. Kerry standing at his side, the president praised Mr. Kerry’s combat service in the Vietnam War and his three decades in the Senate, which Mr. Obama said had placed him at the heart of “every major foreign policy debate for the past 30 years.”

Mr. Kerry, the president said, had also earned the respect of his Senate colleagues and expressed confidence that he would be quickly confirmed. In recent weeks, Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican, has jokingly referred to his colleague as “Mr. Secretary.”

Mr. Obama’s first choice for the job, Susan E. Rice, the ambassador to the United Nations, asked Mr. Obama to withdraw her name last week after Mr. McCain and other Republicans threatened to block her nomination because of statements she made after the lethal attack on the American mission in Benghazi, Libya.

In addition to Mr. Kerry’s foreign-policy credentials, Mr. Obama noted that he had supported the president’s political career at key moments — not least, he said, by inviting a “young Illinois state senator to address the Democratic National Convention in 2004.”

Mr. Kerry, 69, was his party’s presidential candidate in that election, losing to George W. Bush. He is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has carried out several diplomatic missions for the Obama administration, helping to persuade President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan to agree to a runoff election in 2009. Early in the administration, he also tried to engage President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who has waged a brutal crackdown on his own people as he fights to cling to power.

By all accounts, it seems as though Kerry will pretty much sail through the Senate when his nomination is considered. Ironically, he will first be questioned by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. One presumes he will at the very least step down as Chairman before this occurs. As of now, though, there’s no word on when he will officially resign from the Senate.


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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. stonetools says:

    Ah well, its not my choice, because of the issue of succession to his Senate seat, but he wanted it, he’s been a good soldier for Obama and he’ll likely be an excellent SoS. Good luck to him.
    I expect we’ll see lots of campaigning by Kerry and Obama on behalf of whoever is the Democratic candidate opposing Scott Brown. I’m sure the WH isn’t going to leave that race to chance.

  2. lankyloo says:

    And he’ll get more Republican votes to confirm than the Republican Hagel will get when he’s nominated for defense.

  3. Tsar Nicholas says:

    I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I already miss Hillary. She’s more ruthless. And at this stage of the game far less loopy.

  4. An Interested Party says:

    I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I already miss Hillary. She’s more ruthless.

    You needn’t worry…you will see her and her ruthlessness in 2016…

  5. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I wonder if anyone will ask Kerry about his meeting with North Vietnamese government officials and negotiating the “People’s Peace Treaty” in Paris in 1971, while he was still an officer in the United States Naval Reserve. Or about his testimony before Congress in that same year, when he said the following:

    I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command….

    They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

    And let’s not forget — Kerry’s worth about a quarter of a billion dollars, mainly thanks to the money of his second wife’s first husband’s Republican family. And he’s the guy who married not one, but two millionaire heiresses who could support him in the manner to which he had become accustomed.

  6. 11B40 says:


    This nomination intrudes upon my Christmas spirit by bringing to mind what F.A. Hayek said about why bad people do well in organizations. It’s because they’re willing to do bad things.

    Alternatively, another President Obama Christmas gift to America.

  7. Tyrell says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I would also want Kerry questioned about human rights conditions in Vietnam today and what is going on there.
    Other concerns: Nuclear arsenal of Russia. North Korea’s missile tests and their implications.
    Egypt and its treatment of women and religious groups. The mess in Syria and what can be done about it. UN disaster.