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. Shaun

    This just rubs me the wrong way. Kerry always wanted the be secretary of state and McCain didn't like S. Rice from his campaign against Obama. So to me it seemed like they teamed up to bring down a good public servant. This just seems like a power grab by a powerful person. Obama just seemed to play right into there hands!!

    January 29, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  2. MHinTX

    Cornyn and Cruz are an embarrassment to right-minded Texans. Sadly, we're becoming an endangered species down here.

    January 29, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. roro

    The three amigos are idiots, especially Cruz, who has barely had time to unpack his things, much less even deserve to cast a vote against a war hero who has served his country for decades. And a pox on the 179 Republican congressional jackholes who voted against money for people who suffered terribly from Super Storm Sandy. I don't know how these people sleep at night. Wait a minute – maybe they're vampires and don't have to sleep – yeah that must be it. Oh wait – they never did that to any other part of the country who suffered in the past. It must be plain and simple bias and meanness.

    January 29, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  4. corpsman

    Great pick. Kerry has both courage and integrity, unlike the SOBs from the laughably-named "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth."

    January 29, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  5. Chuck

    Would to know reasons why these three fringe republican senators voted against the medaled Vietnam war hero Senator Kerry. They must be be friends of the "swift boat" cronies who attacked this great Senator during the 2004 presidential campaign. Remember, the swift boat gang supported the discredited and failed "Cheney-Bush" administration.

    January 29, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  6. Pander Bear

    Lots of angry, bitter conservatives with marginal English skills on the board today. Sad people...

    January 29, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  7. Geezer

    Mr. Kerry is such a nice man.

    January 29, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  8. BostonDan

    Thank God he is out of the Senate! Now maybe we can get someone in who actually shows up and works for the people of Massachusetts. This guy had one of the worst attendance records in the Senate, and was virtually invisible in Massachusetts (except when there was an election, of course).

    January 29, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  9. Megamimi

    Mr. Kerry intends to further Mr. Obama's world vision; if he manages to do so, the world should be afraid; very, very afraid.

    January 29, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. Floyd from Illinois

    This vote reminds me of an old joke, salient to the situation:

    DIRECTIONS TO OKLAHOMA: Travel south until you smell (bovine manure)

    DIRECTIONS TO TEXAS: Keep going south until you step in it.

    January 29, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  11. DBL STD

    In their last publicly dislcosed tax return, Kerry and Heinz paid an effective federal income tax rate of 12%.

    January 29, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  12. yoshimoto

    Oh man, this guy is a narcissistic blowhole who turned on his comrades during the Vietnam War, lied about them and threw them under the bus. He is totally phony and a grandstander. He even misled people about his background. Why can't we get competent people to do these very important jobs instead of these gigantic egos who never get anything done?

    January 29, 2013 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  13. The Truth

    The new world order is comming together... Not gonna last though...

    January 29, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  14. Jackson

    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.


    And Reagan committed High Treason during Iran Contra and escaped prison.

    What is your point?

    January 29, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  15. Lauradet

    Jump up and down! They got their wish to keep the "good ole white boy club" united, in check and in control. Yeehaw!

    January 29, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. Jackson


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


    Care to go Sec of State by Sec of State, throughout history, and make a factual point? Or just interested in being a hater making a partisan talking point?

    January 29, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. BooYah

    I'm ashamed of my stubborn, idiotic Texan Senators.

    January 29, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  18. Jeffi

    I live in Texas and, as usual, my senators embarrass me. Inhofe is certainly a screwball so that gives an idea of the company our senators keep. Texas is slowly shifting back to being a Democrat state but it may take another 10 years. Watch Cruz and Cronyn start singing a different tune or be voted out.

    January 29, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  19. Kathleen

    wonder how much Teraaaaazzzzzza had to pay for his appointment?

    January 29, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  20. PJ

    I agree with you, except for one thing. We have more than just 2 worthless Senators who are nothing but bull
    manure. House members, local yokels, those in Austin, you can hit manure everywhere you step.

    January 29, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  21. Bill from Long Island

    An Insider, nominated by an insider, confirmed by insiders. Shocker !

    January 29, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  22. nick

    Kerry never held a real job yet amassed 150 million. so it be said, another crook goes up the ladder. what a shame.

    January 29, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  23. Coflyboy

    Who cares about a state where creationism is taught in high-school? Isn't that some third-world country we left behind? To the United States, Texas isn't worth the dirt under my shoe. We just let Texans tag along for entertainment.

    January 29, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  24. Tubby the Tuba

    Still it shows how backward Texas is, when not one, but two Senators from Texas vote NO to someone that had all the other Senator's save the one other who voted against Kerry. Republicans leave a lot to desire!

    January 29, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  25. tuscany590

    I think he just started his 2016 campaign..He voted Present...

    January 29, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
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