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. BostonSteve

    The sad truth is that Kerry is not doing this job for the country, he is doing it to fill his own child-like ego. They don't call him "snapshot" Kerry for nothing.

    January 29, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  2. Kevin Park

    Congratulations Secretary of State Kerry. :O)

    January 29, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  3. Edward

    Get eady to clock some miles Mr. Kerry.

    January 29, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  4. Prime Controller

    Played right into Republican's hands..... maybe this is how they are getting the GOP to legalize illegals.

    January 29, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  5. are122

    Alright! Now we have a tax cheat for Sec of State. Pretty amazing.

    January 29, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  6. TopView20

    He's a muppet!

    January 29, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  7. Patrick Portland

    The Senate, House of Representatives, & definitely the White House is a cesspool of congratulating fools. They continue to pay themselves while doing nothing for us, vote each other into positions that thery are neither qualified nor worthy, & congratulate each other on their do-nothingness. Regardless of party affiliation, they're all losers for the most part.

    January 29, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    John Kerry will be absolutely wonderful as Secretary of State.
    Those complaining here about Kerry's wealth and progressive thinking would complain, were Kerry poor, that he was just a loser with an axe to grind, out to get rich by defrauding the government.

    January 29, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  9. Faroff

    This guy feels smelly. Like he's not what you see at his face. Bad move Obama.

    January 29, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  10. darth vader's daughter

    As long as he keeps his hands on the table contrar to the KGB with his big helping hand, did you miss him yet?
    Apparently, my niice Miss didn't, she wound up with her home paid for, big drop diamond earrings and a free ride for 2 years courtesy of the gwb facebook helping hand which caused a fiscal clift.

    January 29, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  11. Raj Malhotra

    Highly experienced, knowledgeable and a well respected person to head the State Department. Great selection.

    January 29, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. because

    because his past, as a malcontent rebel rouser in the middle of the Vietnam War- while our troops were in the field trying to check, the expansion of the murderous stalinism and maoism- and paying with they're blood- while he made fame for himself, by organizing discontent. Clear enough?

    January 29, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. Critic

    OMG, I can't stand the guy. I can still remember his "I have a plan" nonsense where he had no plan at all and because of him, we got 4 more years of Dubya.

    January 29, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  14. joe mauro

    the age of incompetence is at hand!

    January 29, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  15. Flavio

    Good person, at least to his nice heart. And with the help of a multi-language speaking wife 😉 I wish him lucky and success. US diplomacy is important for us, the rest of the world.

    January 29, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  16. Chad

    Awesome. The pentultimate king of flip-flopping. Even the wiki specifically mentions him.

    January 29, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  17. Critic

    I can't stand the guy. I can still remember his "I have a plan" nonsense where he had no plan at all and because of him, we got 4 more years of Dubya.

    January 29, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  18. Critic

    OMG, I can't stand the guy. I can still remember his "I have a plan" nonsense where he had no plan at all and because of him, we got 4 more years of George Bush.

    January 29, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  19. Flavio

    Katie, Hilary has done, in just few months, more than Condoleeza (spelling, sorry) has done for US.

    January 29, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  20. Sham

    Ah, love that Christian acceptance of others you're displaying, American Texan. Glad that you don't think anyone who disagrees with you belongs in your state or your country. Oh, in case you missed the memo, Obama won the popular vote. That said, I still respect your right to voice your opinion, without calling your un-American or un-Texan.

    January 29, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  21. because

    because of his rebel rousing- organizing of discontent- during the Vietnam war, he is not fit to be trusted with any public office, Which makes him a perfect fit for Obuma

    January 29, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  22. tullymd

    Thank you Cruz et al. The implosion of the Republican party should be a continuous process.

    January 29, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  23. James PDX

    @Indiana Voter – touche', complainer.

    January 29, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  24. thelordthygod

    Biden should be Secretary Of State. based on his Senate Foreign Relations Committee experience he was MADE FOR the job. personally I think he's wasted as Vice President. best jobs for Biden?: Secretary Of State, President – VP could only run a distant 3rd at best. you put your best players in their best roles, but this is the way it shook out...

    January 29, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  25. nik green

    Kerry. The candidate who promised in 2004 that a repeat of the fraudulent 2000 election would never happen and there were "thousands of lawyers on hand to make sure.

    Kerry weaseled out. He never challenged the 2004 Ohio election scandal and crimes, where hard drives containing the count from numerous Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia Systems voting machines were swapped out, and where FBI agents knowingly and deliberately protected the perps.

    Kerry knew what was going down, and he weaseled out, like the coward he is.

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