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. Richard Scroggins

    Once again we Texans have been embarrassed on a national level by our elected politicians. We can only hope that Jeb Bush got it correct when he predicted that Texas will turn purple within the next five years. Can we make it that long? Sure hope so. Congratulations Senator Kerry and thank you to all of those reasonable and unbiased members of the U.S. Senate who voted to confirm you!

    January 29, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  2. stevec

    Why didn't they show a pic of Kerry throwing his medals back over the fence at the White House? It is a lot more telling than a pic of him riding in a chopper over Vietnam in the late 90's.

    January 29, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  3. Joe B

    Have to say a much better choice than Hillary. Should have been in this position four years ago. This is coming from a conservative, but not a republican. Good luck Kerry and I hope Obama doesn't drive you crazy.

    January 29, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  4. kelly

    For those of you complaining about some Kerry / Romney double standard:

    1. Don't forget – they both lost.

    2. Kerry isn't the one with the money. His wife, of only 17 years, is.

    3. Romney didn't lose because he's rich. Most of our presidents have been rich. Even Obama became a millionaire before taking office. Aside from his platform, Romney lost because he's a robot.

    January 29, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  5. b

    Jay Leno got a day job. cool.

    January 29, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. Donna

    Apparently the Swiftboaters weren't paid enough to block Senator Kerry's confirmation.

    January 29, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  7. Ergus

    This guy's mug really makes him look like a Saturday Night Live cast member.

    January 29, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  8. David

    He's your problem now !

    David – Massachusetts

    January 29, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  9. boyscout

    Well well another skull and bonesman slides in with no contest. A few more and they can lead us to the nwo they have planned out.

    January 29, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  10. California Gary

    So Larry.....at the time, I didn't have much use for those that protested the war and spoke out either......but in retrospect, people were right to question our involvement in Viet Nam and protest against same. You still seem to think that anyone that spoke out was and is a traitor.......not letting facts get in the way of your opinions? Do you still think our involvement in Viet Nam was righteous?

    January 29, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  11. kayla

    incompetent as conde rice weapons of mass destruction

    January 29, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  12. kevin

    Really...Please can we let texas leave the union. If it wasn't for Austin, the state would have no value at all! We already used their oil...let them leave and laugh while Mexico invades them.

    January 29, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  13. David

    tremendous responsibilities and major influence in world affairs. I'm confident he will do great!

    January 29, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  14. Indian

    Without a doubt Kerry will go down as the worst secretary of state in the history of the US. He has zero grasp of the ground reality in AfPak. His idea of solving the issue of terror is simple – appease the terrorists and hope against the hope they will stop doing what they are doing. Shame on Obama for backing down on Susan Rice.

    January 29, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  15. SaneInTexas

    Not all of us are crazy, just the loudest ones. Great pick for SoS, and as usual, our elected officials embarrass.

    January 29, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  16. Joann

    I am embarrassed to tell people that I live in Texas.

    January 29, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  17. art b

    Need to set up some portable wind turbines and get some benefit out of all the hot air this guy emanates

    January 29, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  18. Leopold Stotch

    Another filthy rich liberal. All bow down to the Ketchup Princess.

    January 29, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  19. Philip

    Another bad day for America.

    January 29, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  20. Don in Houston

    Congrats to Sen. Kerry. He will be a fine Secy of State. However, as a Texan, I'm embarrassed that both our U.S. senators (2 of the 3 no votes) voted against confirmation. That illustrates how out of touch the political establishment is in Texas with Rick Perry as governor and these two nincompoops representing us in the Senate. However, I suggest you stay tuned to see how the Lone Star State turns from red to purple to blue in the coming years.

    January 29, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    what happened to his face?

    January 29, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  22. alfred

    And the reason for Texas senators to vote no is........................?

    January 29, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  23. jacko1

    Well that leaves Hillery to be the next PRESADENT,be cause the REPUBLICANS do not have any body to run except some RELIGIOUS freaks,who know one knows.I"m a republican but i sure as hell can not vote for any of the people who think they might want to run.

    January 29, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    the Islamic Agenda revealed: theislamicagenda.com

    January 29, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  25. dcsmith

    John Kerry is a great American. It is so completely clear that Cornyn, Cruz and Inhof , the leading chicken hawks of this generation, are not.

    January 29, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
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