John Kerry through the years
January 29th, 2013
04:58 PM ET
1 year 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. Mike

    This is in-your-face payback to Perot and his swift boat cronies.

    January 29, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. John

    @liberal disease-for the same reason someone like you didn't question Romney's.

    January 29, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. Pat F

    @liberal disease, amen. Theresa Heinz-Kerry could buy and sell the Romneys with the change in her pocket. Double-standard Democrats.

    January 29, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. Indiana Voter

    Most people look at the results of this vote and see that it was a huge bi-partisan vote in favor of Kerry. The liberals on this website look at the 3 that voted against and use this story to trash Republicans and Texas. Just proves that liberals "need" to always complain about something.

    January 29, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. yem

    With his experience and cool head,John Kerry will make a great Secretary of State. And I am glad his confirmation hearing went well. I am hopeful Chuck Hagel will be also confirmed ASAP.They are both important positions and should be filled asap.

    January 29, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  6. TeddyX

    A crying shame to be a Texan today. We have 2 worthless Senators who are nothing but bull manure

    January 29, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. The Dead Critic

    John Kerry...the NUT JOB liberal socialist who believes he's JFK reincarnate....the White House just keeps getting more pathetic every month.

    January 29, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. Pat Doyen

    May the three senators who voted against him rot in a very dirty place.

    January 29, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. Wade stem

    Another fool , That will do nothing Power is out of control. We are done for.

    January 29, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. Stuart

    This is an example of how out of touch many Texans are in the country and how far right the state has drifted. The old white men in this state who take more federal money than they put in shows how the few rich take from us all.

    January 29, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. Larry Mandrell

    To answer your questions about us Texans, John Kerry gave aid and comfort to the enemy during the Vietnam War while still a commissioned officer in the US Navy, because the progressives never had the ball s to d decair war he was able to escape Federal Prison. To the unasked question yes I was, 1959-1984 USA/USN.

    January 29, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. Woman In California

    Congratulations Senator Kerry. I know you'll make a terrific SOS.

    January 29, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. anonymous

    No discussion of his and his wife's billions is because you are misinformed. Mr. John Kerry is not from money. His wife's money is from the Heinz family for which her husband's family amassed, and you might want to recall that Senator Heinz was a Republican.

    January 29, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "@liberal disease, amen. Theresa Heinz-Kerry could buy and sell the Romneys with the change in her pocket. Double-standard Democrats."

    There's no double standard whatsoever. We gladly support wealthy people who exhibit the pragmatic, altruistic societal responsibility required by the social contract and are willing to advocate for raising their own taxes when it's necessary. It has nothing to do with the wealth per se. I find poor useful idiots arguing that trickle-down unicorn farts will create growth and jobs are just as distasteful as wealthy plutocrats arguing the same things in order to protect, expand and inequitably grow their wealth and influence on th ebacks of said useful idiots and the rest of the middle-class. You clearly don't really understand the concept of what constitutes "hypocrisy."

    January 29, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  15. Beenthere

    Big shoes to fit into; big footsteps to follow; big paths to wear
    ...
    I would not want to be him and hope he can maintain the positive image of the USA that Hillary Clinton forged.

    January 29, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. rheffero

    He replaces the 2nd worst Sec of State in US History, we can only go up.

    January 29, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  17. cedar rapids

    'Indiana Voter
    Most people look at the results of this vote and see that it was a huge bi-partisan vote in favor of Kerry. The liberals on this website look at the 3 that voted against and use this story to trash Republicans and Texas. Just proves that liberals "need" to always complain about something.'

    says the person that looked for something to moan about.

    January 29, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  18. Lynn

    Texan here. Just want to say I did not vote for either of those jokers.

    January 29, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  19. joey

    solid choice, knows the international political scene as well as any human on earth

    January 29, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  20. American Texan

    If u support kerry and obama and the rest of the socialist then you are neither a true american or texan.

    January 29, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  21. Katie

    Good Lord why would anyone vote against him? As a very conservative Conservative I am thrilled that he is replacing the incompetent Hilary Clinton. One would hope that of the "millions" of emails that come to the State Dept. addressed to the Secretary of State (Imagine that), HE would have been competent enough to clue in and provide some assistance in the time span of a 9-hour battle in Benghazi. That's assuming that the ever lying Hilary even came close to a morsel of the truth in her angry, sobbing act of a testimony. I am on my knees to God in thanks for John Kerry in this role.

    January 29, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  22. semper fi

    This will not end well.

    January 29, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. David

    Some of THE most bigoted and hateful people I have ever met are from Texas. They are scared to death of anybody who is not exactly like them. Their hate is rooted in fear.

    January 29, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. John

    @Indiana Voter–and then we see a post from someone like The Dead Critic. Got any other insightful observations you want to share?

    January 29, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  25. cedar rapids

    'Larry Mandrell
    ....John Kerry gave aid and comfort to the enemy during the Vietnam War'

    such as?

    January 29, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
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