January 29th, 2013
04:58 PM ET
10 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.

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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. sonny chapman

    Why do the Texans hate John Kerry ? His Vietnam War record is more honorable than George W.'s.

    January 29, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. MaryM

    Congrats Senator Kerry.

    January 29, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  3. California Gary

    Maybe we should reconsider on the question of letting Texas leave the union. Only 3 senators voted no, and 2 of them are from Texas.......what does that tell you about how productive those Texas senators are going to be over the next few years?

    January 29, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. Erocks

    I'm not a Kerry fan but I think he is the best Obama had to offer for the job. Hopefully he'll stop his long winded speaches

    January 29, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  5. What1

    Hopefully, Kerry will do a much better job than Hilliary.

    January 29, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. Lamar in Dallas, TX

    Great! The 2 senators from my home state of Texas voted no. These 2 guys would voted against anybody Obama nominates!

    January 29, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  7. bob

    Cruze & "Corn Pone". What a pair!!

    January 29, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  8. Bill

    John Cornyn – Mr. "I keep losing seats to the Democrats" as head of the Republican senatorial election effort. Last count was five or six seat over last two election cycles, I believe. Nice going Johnnie. What a clown.

    January 29, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  9. kia

    now they got a traitor as secretary of state.

    January 29, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  10. Logic N LA

    Sonny- why do they hate him? Becuase despite all thier noise- Texans are as far from real Americans as you can get. They hate democracy. They hate alternative thinking. They hate change. And, they hate everyone who is not them.

    January 29, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  11. penguin

    Texans hate the United States. I'm all in favor of it leaving the Union with us leaving with the military installations and stopping the spending of US taxpayer money in the new country

    January 29, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  12. TheMovieFan

    Once he resigns his Senate seat, the right-wingers will demand he step down as Secretary of State the moment he jay walks.

    January 29, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  13. blake

    Perhaps because he is as far left as Obama.

    January 29, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  14. John

    They're republicans from Texas. Their entire MO is to hate anyone that isn't exactly like them.

    January 29, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  15. liberal disease

    why are his and his wife's billions not questioned, but liberals obsessed over Romney's millions? after all both have investments in hedge funds, oil companies and defense contractors. This is why nobody believes liberal outrage when it occurs, you are all frauds!

    January 29, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  16. Roger

    Naturally our two whacko senators from Texas voted against Sen. Kerry. They both are an embarassment. I live for the day when Texas once again will have at least one Democratic senator and a Democratic governor. Hopefully that day will come sooner rather than later.

    January 29, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  17. qwerty

    they're republicans – and they're texans – need I say more?

    January 29, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  18. lovespandas

    hahaha – can't get rid of Texas. Cornyn is not too bright to vote against Kerry. Everyone else wanted him out of his Senate seat.

    January 29, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  19. John

    @kia-the history of Vietnam is now there for all to see. Did Senator Kerry lie about any of it? Think about that the next time one of the garments you buy says, "Made in Vietnam". Then go talk to someone that served over there.

    January 29, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  20. Obama

    Kerry can drive his swift boat around with Jane Fonda to visit all the foreign dignitaries.

    January 29, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. nvmature

    Somebody please let Texas secede from the Union. Let them just go.

    January 29, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  22. Mike from Seattle

    You can always tell a Texas Senator, but you can't tell 'em much.

    January 29, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  23. Obama

    Why the long face John?

    January 29, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  24. virpar

    Congratulation MR Kerry, You deserve to be Secretary of State. It is shame for some senators did not vote for you. It is OK in America. Wishing you best of luck.

    January 29, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  25. Tom

    I am a sxth generation Texan and I love the USA, think Kerry will make a great Secretary of State and know we have two morons for Senators. There are over 20 million Texans, don't lump us all together.

    January 29, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
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