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. haaseline

    Remember Williams and Yaz didn't win World Series!!!

    January 29, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  2. angel

    Jesus says,you must be Born Again of Spirit and turn the will of your flesh,your sinful nature,over to the will of God to enter God's Kingdom,and Jesus left the Holy Spirit with us. Jesus says God is a Spirit and must be worshiped in spirit and truth. Isaiah 2: 4,says,which Jesus fulfills in fulfilling all the prophets,including Isaiah,God ends all wars of the sword,of guns and bombs,beating swords to plowshares,and man learns war no more. So wars are not of the Holy Spirit,are not of a Holy God,God doesn't end what is Holy and what is of the Holy Spirit. Revelation 1:16,2:16,19:15,and 19:21,says Jesus comes against the final and worst war with the sword of his mouth,with the word of God,sword of the Spirit,not with the swords of guns and bombs,which kill the innocent,including children and fetuses,even by mistake, God doesn't make mistakes.So our fight is the good fight,a Spiritual fight,not of the flesh,mans sinful nature,but of the Spirit,of God's Holy Spirit,of being anti war by God's word,even the Word Himself Jesus Christ. So wars are of the antichrist spirit which is of the devil,of the flesh and the devil.

    January 29, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  3. haaseline

    Remember Williams and Yaz never won World Series!!

    January 29, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  4. Jim M

    Nothing changes in the dimwit state of Texa*s, as their two wacko senators voted against the Kerry confirmation, out of three no votes, glad these Texa*s cowards showed their true colors.

    January 29, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  5. G

    Is it just me or does the picture of Kerry of the CNN homepage remind you of a Muppet?

    January 29, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. fedupwithla

    Well, world, you finally got him. You didn't get him in 2004, so now is your chance. Go ahead, Kerry, see what you can screw up that Hillary hasn't already made a mess of.

    January 29, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  7. Ashley Younes


    Somebody please forward this to the powers that be at cnn....We have a hostage situation going on in our home town. A man got on to a school bus, and shot and killed a bus driver, and took a six year old hostage.

    January 29, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. TexDoc

    Yea, Texas! Cruz and Cornyn vote no!

    January 29, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  9. Jim

    Larry Mandrell said, "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."

    Why in the world would we have declared war on a country that was of no threat to us? Why were we there? To pay off the military industrial establishment that no less than General Eisenhower warned us against. I'll take his evaluation over yours any day.

    January 29, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  10. yogi

    Three voted against Kerry. This says more about those three than Kerry. Those three are cowards.

    January 29, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  11. atheist

    If we spent half of the money that taxpayers are buying bibles with then poverty would be better. Religion make people selfish and poor.

    January 29, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  12. Susan

    What a bunch of spoiled conservative Republican brats! Grow up!! Especially Lindsey Grahams comment that Clinton got away with murder. Murder? Really? And you represent us in Congress? You all are just very bitter people if you ask me. –imho...

    January 29, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  13. usamauk

    It is heartening to know that Mr John Kerry is back in the limelight. Indeed, he seems to have a safe pair of hands when it comes to International Affairs. Congratulations Mr Kerry, I sincerely hope that you will now concentrate on Pakistan's elections that are looming. Elections must be conducted in a transparent and fair manner. Pakistani's have been striving for a fair election for a very long time – they are politically astute, judicious, perceptive and indeed shrewd even to the level of village inhabitants. All they crave for is fairness and honesty. It is, therefore, a humble request through this forum that this time round please do not support any corrupt, fraudulent, crooked and dishonest political leader and their parties. It gives not only Pakistan a bad name but also disparage and malign United States name and its credibility in the Third World. As you know, Pakistan has enough resources to stabilize itself, however the corruption has brought the poor, the middle class and the educated and intellectuals, that equates surely to the silent majority, to its knees. I am certain you know them all and their conduct since your previous appointment. A corrupt individual is always for sale only to fall for the highest bidder. You have been extremely honest, trustworthy, transparent, diligent and loyal to the Americans, I plead for a reciprocity to the people of Pakistan. From the time of President Dwight D. Eisenhower till Almost recent years Pakistani's have been a close Ally of US – those bridges could be rebuilt. A bridge handles the forces of tension, compression, bending, torsion and shear through its Structure. This is what is required in the development of future relationship between the people of Pakistan and the US; however the foundation blocks have to be based on mutual respect for sovereignty of both countries, truthfulness, transparency, non-interference and indeed refrain from providing support for dishonest political leaders – How can you trust a corrupt political leader who is not even loyal to his own nation? He betrays his own motherland and its inhabitants he will definitely betray you. When the people of Pakistan see your photo sessions with all smiles with the most corrupt politicians ever lived in Pakistan and US turning a blind eye to their corruption it gives a 'false impression' to the people of Pakistan that may be the US is colluding and interested in
    only the corrupt politicians of Pakistan to achieve her objectives (here all sorts of theories start to float). I humbly request
    you to deal with only honest Pakistani politicians – initially this will be a slow process however you are in it for a long haul
    anyway so time is not the essence here – it should be a short, medium and long term goal of US foreign policy especially when it concerns Pakistan. The benefits could not be quantified but the results would be extremely beneficial to both the countries and their people. US must be a fair trader!

    January 29, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  14. ruetienne

    you're right Tom.....Sorry

    January 29, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  15. john m

    It's true,ANYONE would be better than Hillary.But also remember,Kerry used his influence with the Kenedy family to get those purple hearts over the objections of his commanding officer.He was groomed by the Kenedys from a very early age.Lets hope he's matured abit over the many years since those Vietnam days.As for those socialists who love bashing Texas; while ya'll drove your states into bankruptcy,we did just fine.So fine in fact,we could secede,pay off any debts to the US and still be in the green!

    January 29, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  16. Facts don't Lie

    I guess TeaParty Cruz is trying to make a name for himself with is NO vote to make the TP crowd happy. Well it seems like once again the folks we here in Texas send to DC and goverment as a whole are basically morons starting with our "guvner" and ending with the likes of Louie Gomhert and Tom Delay. Welcome to the club Sen Cruz you fit right in.

    January 29, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    I believe is a solid choice for the job. As for the 3 senators who didn't get the memo. Wake up the coffee. We need bi-partisan cooperation to make our country strong. My way or no way politics doesn't work.

    January 29, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  18. daphnerp

    Way to go!!!!

    January 29, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  19. Indyswimmer66

    Guess the "Swift Boaters" stayed in their hidey hole.

    January 29, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  20. Edward Canavan

    I will miss Ms Clinton as SOS. Mr Kerry will represent America admirably. Swiftboat who call Mr Kerry "Yellow" because he shot at a retreating enemy should consider an accepted military tactic. When the enemy is on the run exploit the advantage. George Paton would agree! I've wanted to post that for a long time!

    January 29, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  21. Teresa

    Congatulations senator kerry. Good luck in your job. Thank god it is a democrat.

    January 29, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  22. Meki60

    the good news is that Kerry will not give hillary the time of day, the bad news is that we got kerry.

    January 29, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  23. lmc3

    Well, he caa lie with the best of them so he should fit the job well.

    January 29, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  24. Forever Texan

    "Republican Senators John Cornyn, Ted Cruz"..............Job well done gentlemen and I'll bet the 58,000 dead Vietnam Heroes would agree along with all veterans.

    January 29, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  25. Forever Texan

    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.

    Seems you're the one spewing the hate and hating on "everyone who is not them."

    January 29, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
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