Obama will name John Kerry to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State: news report
Kerry, who was rumored to be Clinton's choice to follow her to the State Department, currently chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
BY JONATHAN LEMIRE / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2012, 10:56 AM
J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts is now believed to be President Obama’s pick to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
President Obama has chosen Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, according to a report.
Obama will announce his choice of Kerry in the coming weeks, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, citing a source.
The White House has not confirmed the selection.
It is widely known that Kerry was interested in the job, and the former presidential nominee emerged as the clear favorite after another contender, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, withdrew from consideration last week.
Rice, who many believe was Obama's first choice, backed out before facing a contentious confirmation battle. Several key Republicans vowed to fight her selection, believing that she misled Congress and the American public about the investigation into September's deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Rice is expected to stay in her current post and may eventually take another position — perhaps national security adviser — within the administration.
Kerry, who is rumored to be Clinton's choice to follow her to the State Department, is widely respected on the international stage and currently chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
His spot on the prestigious committee will be filled by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), according to the Sun-Times.
Kerry's looming departure from the Senate could trigger a fascinating political battle in Massachusetts. It is widely expected that Republican Scott Brown, who lost his own Senate seat to Elizabeth Warren last month, would run in a special election to fill Kerry's vacant seat.
UN Ambassador Susan Rice has withdrawn from consideration for Secretary of State after vocal opposition from several key Republican senators.
Brown won Sen. Ted Kennedy's old seat in 2010 and, despite his defeat, retains a high favorability rating in the Bay State. It is not known who Democrats would choose to run against him.
Several prominent Republicans have signaled that they would not oppose Kerry's nomination — in part because it would open up the seat in Massachusetts.
Obama will continue to fill out his national security team in the coming days and Beltway gossip has him leaning toward choosing former Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a Republican, to become Secretary of Defense.
Clinton had long said she was only interested in serving one term as Secretary of State, and she is expected to step down next month. She has said she will take some time off before deciding on her next career move — which could include a run for the White House in 2016.