President Nominates Senator Kerry to be Next Secretary of State
President Obama announced Friday afternoon that he’ll nominate John Kerry to be the next U.S. Secretary of State.
“I know that you’re going to be an outstanding Secretary of State,” the President said at a White House news conference, as Kerry stood by his side.
Kerry is currently a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts.
He has held that job for 28 years.
Right now, he’s the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
If Kerry’s Senate colleagues approve his nomination early next year, he’ll succeed the current Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
She has already announced that she’ll step down after the President’s first term.
Kerry’s nomination already had support from both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, even before it was announced.
So he’s not expected to have any problems getting confirmed.
Kerry was the Democratic nominee for President in 2004.
It was at the Democratic National Convention that year that he helped introduce the world to a little-known state senator from Illinois named Barack Obama.
The speech Mister Obama made at that convention helped get him elected to the U.S. Senate later that year – and led to his run for President four years later.
As for Kerry, he lost the 2004 presidential election to the Republican incumbent, President George W. Bush.
(The “incumbent” is the person who already had the job before the election.)
But Kerry and Mister Obama have reportedly remained close over the years.
And Kerry has already taken on a number of international assignments in world hotspots, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, since Mister Obama became President.
“He’s not going to need a lot of on-the-job training,” the President told reporters on Friday.
Before serving in the Senate, Kerry served in the Navy during the Vietnam War.
And he was honored for his service.
But Kerry later protested against that war – and even testified against it before Congress.
“He’s seen war,” said Jonah Blank, a former Kerry aide, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “He knows it ain’t pretty. And very often, it doesn’t work.”
Blank told the Times that Kerry “would much rather solve problems by negotiations and diplomacy than by war.”
The next Secretary of State will face a number of challenges – the upheavals in the Arab world; the ongoing battles against terrorism; and the efforts by Iran and North Korea to develop nuclear weapons, to name a few.
According to the President, Kerry has the skills needed to face down those challenges.
“Few individuals know as many presidents and prime ministers or grasp our (foreign) policies as firmly as John Kerry,” Mister Obama said on Friday. “John’s entire life has prepared him for this role.”