ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jake Tapper is reporting that President Obama has nominated Senator John Kerry (D-Mass) to replace outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Kerry became the favorite to replace Clinton after UN Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration for the post. The widely reported news has not been confirmed by the White House.
Kerry, the senior senator from Massachusetts, is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is a decorated military veteran and has been awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts for his service in the Vietnam War. He was the 2004 Democratic nominee for president, losing by only 60,000 votes to President George W. Bush.
Republican senators vehemently and openly opposed the nomination of Rice and strongly favored Kerry. The Washington Post said that there was a “quiet effort [by Republicans] to push Kerry for the job.” Several Republican senators were vocal in their support for Kerry. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) said, “I think John Kerry would be an excellent appointment and would be easily confirmed by his colleagues.” Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said, “If the president wants an easy confirmation hearing and an easy confirmation process, what he would do is nominate John Kerry.”
Democratic strategists were concerned that the Republicans' opposition to Rice in lieu of Kerry was more devious in nature. They felt that the opposition to Rice would set up a win-win proposition for the GOP. First, if Rice was not nominated, it would be a blow against Obama. Obama was openly favoring Rice to replace Clinton. Secondly, a Kerry nomination would set up a special election for his senate seat in Massachusetts. Republicans feel that they have a strong chance to win the vacated seat reducing the Democrat majority in the Senate. Tad Devane, a senior adviser to Kerry said, “I think they are trying to come down from 55 [Democrats] to get to 50 as fast as they can in the Senate.”
It was no secret among the Washington political beltway that Kerry coveted the position. Kerry gave a rousing endorsement speech for Obama at the 2012 Democratic National Convention that some felt signaled his desire to work in the administration. During that speech, he took several shots at the Republican nominee Mitt Romney. One of the more memorable lines was, “For Mitt Romney, an overseas trip was what you call it when you trip all over yourself overseas.” Kerry’s DNC speech focused heavily on Obama’s foreign policy and drew stark contrasts between the administration’s position and Romney on key issues like Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Russia. Kerry mocked Romney’s foreign policy experience by saying, “Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from Alaska. Mitt -- Mitt Romney talks like he’s only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV.”
The announcement is expected to be delayed a few days for a number of reasons, including allowing the nation to recover from the shooting massacre of 27 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, CT. The delay in the announcement is not related at all to the concussion suffered by Clinton.
The LA Times said Clinton “who canceled an overseas trip this week due to a stomach virus, suffered a concussion after she fainted due to dehydration.”
Kerry has remained mum about the imminent announcement. “I’m just doing my job,” he said.