UK & World News

  • 22 December 2012, 2:04

John Kerry Nominated For Secretary Of State

John Kerry has been picked to succeed Hillary Clinton as US Secretary of State, President Barack Obama has announced.

Mr Kerry's nomination marks Mr Obama's first move in a sweeping overhaul of his national security team heading into his second term as President.

Standing alongside Mr Kerry at the White House, Mr Obama said the Vietnam War veteran's life "has prepared him for this role".

"He is not going not need a lot of on-the-job training," Mr Obama said.

"Few individuals know as many presidents and prime ministers or grasp our policies as firmly as John Kerry."

Mr Kerry is expected to be easily approved for the cabinet post by his longtime congressional colleagues.

The Democratic senator from Massachusetts leapt to the front of Mr Obama's list for the State Department job after UN Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration last week.

She faced harsh criticism from Republicans for her initial account of the deadly September attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Mr Obama vigorously defended Ms Rice, a close friend and adviser, but Republicans dug in, threatening to hold up her nomination if the President tapped her for the post.

Mr Kerry came to prominence during his failed presidential campaign against George W Bush in 2004.

He now serves as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

But the 69-year-old has long sought the nation's top diplomatic post.

Mr Obama considered him for the job after the 2008 election, before later picking Mrs Clinton in a surprise move.

Since then, Mr Obama has dispatched Mr Kerry around the world to deal with diplomatic disputes in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He was also part of the President's debate preparations team during the 2012 election, playing the role of Republican challenger Mitt Romney in mock debates.

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