John Kerry, Obama's pick for secretary of state, to field questions from committee he chairs

Donna Cassata, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Democratic Sen. John Kerry, on a smooth path to confirmation as secretary of state, is likely to face friendly questioning when he testifies before the committee that he's served on for 28 years and led for the past four.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman will sit at the witness table Thursday at his confirmation hearing, a month after President Barack Obama said he wanted him to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Clinton is stepping down.

The five-term Massachusetts senator is expected to win overwhelming bipartisan support from his colleagues. That notion was reinforced by the list of the people who will introduce him: Clinton, Massachusetts freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Republican Sen. John McCain.

McCain and Kerry are friends who have worked closely on national security issues.