According to the Washington Post, Barack Obama will make an announcement this afternoon confirming what everyone already knows. John Kerry will leave the US Senate and move to Foggy Bottom, replacing Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State:
President Obama will nominate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) as secretary of state this afternoon, according to a White House official.
Kerry will succeed Hillary Clinton, who has long planned to step down shortly after Obama’s inauguration. He was widely considered to be Obama’s top choice after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice removed herself from consideration last week.
The Post notes Kerry’s track record of assisting Obama in foreign policy over the last three years from his perch as chair of the Foreign Relations Committee:
Kerry traveled to Afghanistan in the fall of 2009 and persuaded President Hamid Karzai to accept a runoff election. The senator played a similar role for the administration in Pakistan, where he helped broker the release of a CIA contractor arrested on suspicion of murder and later persuaded the Pakistanis to return parts of a U.S. stealth helicopter that crashed during the Abbottabad raid that killed Osama bin Laden. He was the first senior U.S. elected official to meet with Mohamed Morsi before and after he became Egypt’s president.
With all of that, why wasn’t Kerry the first choice for Obama? After all, Rice’s main contribution has been shepherding one US failure after another at the UN. Most of that probably couldn’t be helped, but the surprise switch by US allies on the General Assembly vote on Palestinian recognition didn’t exactly bolster her credibility as a top diplomat.
Obama will now get an easy ride in the Senate for confirmation. While some critics of Kerry will want to press him for answers on old scores, don’t expect to hear much about his post-Vietnam activism. Republicans might want to ask some questions about his current global-warming activism, but then again, they may prefer not to give him that kind of platform for advocacy, since it won’t have any impact on his confirmation anyway.