John Kerry through the years
January 29th, 2013
04:58 PM ET
2 years ago

Kerry confirmed by Senate colleagues as secretary of state

Washington (CNN) – John Kerry was overwhelmingly confirmed Tuesday as the 68th secretary of state by his colleagues in the U.S. Senate.

The vote was 94-3, with Republican Senators John Cornyn, Ted Cruz and James Inhofe voting no. Kerry voted present on his own nomination.

Earlier in the day he received the nod of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The panel approved his nomination unanimously by a voice vote.

Kerry submitted his resignation letter to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, saying he resigns his seat effective Friday at 4 p.m.

Kerry, the longtime senator from Massachusetts and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, has served on the committee for decades and was the panel's chairman the past four years.

President Barack Obama last month nominated Kerry to succeed outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the country's top diplomat.

In a statement, he said, "I am pleased that the Senate has confirmed John Kerry as our next secretary of state with overwhelming bipartisan support. From his decorated service in Vietnam to his decades in the Senate as a champion of American global leadership, John's distinguished career has prepared him to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead.

"John has earned the respect of leaders around the world and the confidence of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, and I am confident he will make an extraordinary secretary of state," Obama continued. "I look forward to his counsel and partnership in the years ahead as we ensure American leadership in the world and advance the interests and values that keep our nation strong."

Patrick, who will appoint a temporary successor to the seat, said in a statement that he thanks "Senator Kerry for his decades of service to the people of Massachusetts.

"From his days as lieutenant governor to his nearly thirty years in the United States Senate, he has been our steadfast champion," Patrick said. "I know that he will bring the dedication, intelligence, and passion to his new role that he brought to representing Massachusetts. We are sad to lose him as our senator, but excited about and grateful for his service to the nation on the international stage."

Democrat Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts freshman who becomes the state's senior senator with his resignation, said, "John Kerry is a true statesman, and he will be an extraordinary Secretary of State. His experience as a Navy lieutenant, veteran, prosecutor, Lieutenant Governor, Senator, and Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee uniquely qualifies him to represent the people of the United States around the world. I was proud to cast my vote – and I am excited to call him Mr. Secretary."

Democratic Rep. Ed Markey, the only declared candidate so far for Kerry's seat, praised him, saying: "Americans can be confident that John Kerry is the most qualified, knowledgeable, and passionate person to represent our interests around the world. Going from Hillary Clinton to John Kerry at the State Department is like the Red Sox going from Ted Williams to Carl Yastrzemski, both possessing hall of fame talent and passion for the job.

Kerry has served in the U.S. Senate since 1984.

Kerry's confirmation makes him the first new member of Obama's second-term cabinet to be installed. Obama has also nominated candidates to lead the departments of defense and treasury.

– CNN's Paul Steinhauser, Ted Barrett and Paul Courson contributed to this report


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • John Kerry • Massachusetts • State Department
soundoff (222 Responses)
  1. MARVIN WAYNE PALMER, JR

    Another phony! Here we go again!!

    January 30, 2013 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  2. Batman

    Nice to know that we'll have the wisdom of someone who vetted John Edwards as his running mate calling the shots at the State Department

    January 30, 2013 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  3. MARVIN WAYNE PALMER, JR

    John Kerry you phony

    January 30, 2013 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  4. worldcares

    Congradulations to John Kerry.
    I was born in these United States of America and proud to be an American.
    Not everyone is born in Texas. " Your comment above makes you sound like a bigot," American Texan.

    January 30, 2013 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  5. Hugh Mann

    Surprised the Birchers didn't block this one too,,,must be slipping

    January 30, 2013 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  6. worldcares

    Congradulations to John Kerry.
    If a foreigner wants to come to this country, they should do it legally, and have self respect to want to become an American citizen. Quit coming here and having your babies. What a desperate ploy, that be.
    Keep it honest.

    January 30, 2013 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  7. Thomas

    Hazardous smog grays Beijing.

    Is climate change real ? Not if you ask Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
    I am simply too philosophically opposed on the issues to support his nomination,” said Inhofe.
    Kerry has also been a strong advocate for U.S. action on climate change. While these discussions of a legislative solution have proved to be pointless since the Senate defeated global warming legislation in 2009, the topic remains a high priority for the international community. I expect Kerry will spend a significant amount of his time supporting the United Nations with a revived Kyoto Treaty to combat climate change, which would be devastating to every facet of our economy.

    James Inhofe (R-OK) in the Kony 2012 video. You know, the guy who said U.S. foreign policy should be based on the Bible.

    January 30, 2013 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  8. worldcares

    Why are my comments still moderated? Everything I said is the truth.

    January 30, 2013 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  9. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    As a Texan, a gun lover and a liberal, I think Kerry will do a great job as Secretary. He has a vast background of international experience, many years in the government and a working relationship with many rulers in the nations he will have to work with. That is not to say he cannot fail, but that the possibility is far smaller than if Romney had won and put in a TEA PARTY approved Secretay.

    January 30, 2013 02:54 am at 2:54 am |
  10. worldcares

    Congradulations John Kerry.

    January 30, 2013 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  11. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    George Bush the second had an absolutly perfect record during the war. Not a single Viet Cong or NVA regular got near an American country club during his years of service. If they had he would have bought them a few rounds and tried to convert them to Republicans.

    January 30, 2013 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  12. Tommy las

    Who cares about Republicans like Republican Senators John Cornyn, Ted Cruz and James Inhofe ? Reps of backwaters USA.

    January 30, 2013 03:35 am at 3:35 am |
  13. Pleb

    Gosh to have to look at this thing on TV is going to be agony – quickly switch the channel folks

    January 30, 2013 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  14. Brenda

    Logic N LA.....please dont lump all Texans together.....and we wont lump all Angelinos together.....

    January 30, 2013 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  15. KEVIN2121961

    Kerry has a much diff. diplomatic style then Hillary. This is going to be interesting on how well he is accepted by other nations. But he is very good at not being manipulated by even our allies. (hopefully).

    January 30, 2013 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  16. Jen

    Good choice for Secretary of State and hopefully the icing on the cake will be the Democrats holding onto his Senate seat. Just a shame he wasn't able to spare the world a second term of Bush.

    January 30, 2013 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  17. Farmer

    American Texan and the likes. Please look up the definition of socialist. The US is no more socialist then Cuba is democratic... When you have no solid facts to debate or disagree you revert to the socialist BS... And if that don't work you then attack liberals as if they are going to somehow destroy America. The only thing that will hurt the US are intolerant rants that continue to claim that the sky is falling and that we are all doomed.

    January 30, 2013 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  18. Name lynn

    People kerry got the sit, no matter what the people say, kerry go do your job.

    January 30, 2013 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  19. Washington Is Out Of Touch with reality

    3 days in Vietnam and a scratch

    January 30, 2013 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  20. Marc Florida

    Good choice.

    January 30, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  21. walker

    Kerry is good for the job. Wish him welll

    January 30, 2013 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  22. CraigM

    This speaks volumes of the U.S. Senate..........confirming a man who was much less than truthful about his time in Vietnam......he simply lied about his experiences in Vietnam. Congratulations to all those Senators who voted for his confirmation and the message they sent not only to Vietnam veterans who served honorably but to our current crop of warriors who protect our freedoms and rights through their sacrifices.

    January 30, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
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