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. Tom

    Come on folks, lets be thankful that Secretary of State Kerry is a member of the "smart party" not the "stupid party."

    January 29, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  2. Bob

    When will Kerry answer for what happened on that swift boat???????? How can the GOP vote for this war traitor???

    January 29, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. Bruce

    He will be better than what we had but that won't be hard to do.

    January 29, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  4. gmenfan54

    So I guess we can blame the next "Benghazi" on John Kerry.

    January 29, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  5. jacksonian2012

    What really ticks me off is that Kerry is going to be repping us all over the worldd with that really bad rug.

    January 29, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  6. Basher

    Good luck. The job sucks.

    January 29, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  7. Glenn

    Out with one piece of garbage, in with a bigger piece of trash. These are, without a doubt, the darkest days in the history of our once great republic.

    January 29, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  8. spockmckoy

    Forgive them Father for they know not what they do. Only 3 sane out of all of them..........G od Help Us

    January 29, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  9. Robert

    The art of diplomacy often takes the form of very subtle gestures and body language, and well, I'm a little concerned about Kerry's wandering eye and what kind of signals that will send to his contemporaries whether friend or foe.

    January 29, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  10. HarbajanSingh

    God decided he will be ok. This is God's will.

    January 29, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  11. Lou50

    There is no hope for the country!

    January 29, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  12. southernwonder

    what this means is increase in foreign aids for kerry's useless projects around the world.

    January 29, 2013 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  13. James

    A liberals hero - A soldier who lied before congress about Vietnam soldiers war crimes. Those lies were used as propaganda by North Korea and led to the deaths of many American soldiers.

    January 29, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  14. BK

    Our enemies do not stand a chance, Kerry will bore them to death!

    January 29, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  15. thinkergal

    Big shoes to fill. I hope (and believe) that he can live up to the standards set by Hillary Clinton, but it won't be easy.

    January 29, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. jt

    see what happens when you play by the rules, you get your turn to dance . God Bless America

    January 29, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  17. hubert39

    Sometime I think the USA should give texass BACK to Mexico.

    January 29, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  18. Just

    John, you were confirmed, why the long face?

    January 29, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  19. Keith

    I am a Texan and a Vet that is ashamed of my Senators today.

    January 29, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  20. Dave

    One step further along in John McCain's cynical strategy to get Scott Brown back into the Senate.

    Don't let them fool you!

    January 29, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  21. kmac499

    Surprised one my two igmos from Texas didn't filabuster–expect them two a lot they make Congress a 3 party body not two. Demos, Reps., and idots from Texas.

    January 29, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  22. clarke

    The very best to you. I feel he will be a good SOS!

    January 29, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  23. Tim Rigney

    I think he might have the ability to do a good job but somehow I can't get past the fact that this guy once chased down an unarmed kid who was running away from him and shot him in the back. Sorry, but "It was war" doesn't wash for me. Wrong is wrong and shooting an unarmed opponent who is running away from you is just plain wrong. And I believe he said he "doesn't regret it."

    January 29, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  24. Bill Richardson

    Great. Now bo bo can hire Hanoi Jane to be SecDef. We can have Hanoi John and Hanoi Jane! To think of all of the heroes that gave their lives so these liberal twerps can have their way makes me vomit!

    January 29, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  25. Gary Andersen

    Congrats to John Kerry. His experience will be an asset to our country. He has served our country thru most of his life...And if the American Texan thinks that I am not a true American he can go kiss my you know what.

    January 29, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
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