Washington insiders have confirmed rumors that U.S. Sen. John Kerry, Massachusets, will be nominated by President Barack Obama to be the next secretary of state, and that the official announcement could come before the Christmas holiday. CNN and ABC News are among the media outlets reporting the decision, citing Democrat sources who have spoken to Kerry. Kerry, the runner-up in the 2004 presidential election, has been the leading candidate since U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice removed her name from consideration.
The 69-year-old Kerry will replace retiring Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who will depart from the position as the president enters his second term. The nature of the job fits Kerry well, as he is currently the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His resume also includes a decorated Navy tour in the Vietnam War and a 27-year tenure in his Massachusetts senate seat.
The news comes days after Rice withdrew from consideration last Thursday, leaving Kerry to be the most obvious choice. Rice faced harsh criticism from Republicans in congress, who berated her involvement in an alleged White House cover-up over the attacks in Benghazi Libya earlier this year. Defenders of the U.N. ambassador stated that Rice only made public remarks based off of C.I.A talking points, but was quickly made into a scapegoat.
Kerry will likely have no problems gaining approval from GOP members, due to his status as a senior senator. Even fellow U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, jokingly called Kerry “Mr. Secretary,” two weeks ago during a press conference. Other Republicans have shared the sentiment.
“I think John Kerry would be an excellent appointment and would be easily confirmed by his colleagues,” Susan Collins, R-Maine, said, according to Reuters.
In recent years Kerry has served as a foreign ambassador for the Obama administration, paying visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan to smooth over strained diplomatic relationships. If the Massachusetts senator does take the position, a special election will be held to find a replacement to occupy his place in Congress until the 2014 elections.