Kerry poised for easy confirmation as secretary of state

Beth Fouhy
January 24, 2013
View photos

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry was poised for an easy confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday as President Barack Obama's nominee to be the next secretary of state.

Kerry, a Democrat who chairs the committee hearing his nomination, was introduced by a star-studded panel—his Massachusetts colleague, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren; Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain; and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is stepping down.

"John is the right choice to carry forth the Obama administration foreign policy, and I urge his speedy confirmation," Clinton said. "He will bring a record of leadership and service that is exemplary."

Clinton, who a day earlier testified before the committee on the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, in which U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed, said Kerry was "committed to doing whatever it takes to prevent another attack and protect our people in posts around the world."

Kerry praised Clinton for serving "above and beyond the call of duty" at State and said he would work hard to meet the standard she had set. "I can pledge to you that with the consent of the Senate I will do everything in my power, summon every energy and all of my focus to build on her record and the president's vision," Kerry said.

A 28-year Senate veteran, Kerry implored the panel to set a model for the rest of the world by putting aside political dysfunction and working to improve the economy.

"The greatest challenge to America's foreign policy will be in your hands, not mine," Kerry said. "The first order of business ... as we work to help other countries create order, our first priority will be that America at last puts its own fiscal house in order."