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. scott bleyle

    out of the frying pan,into a new frying pan.

    January 29, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  2. MP

    Wish I lived in Texas. Someone actually had to balls to say no to Obama. Kerry was and is a traitor.

    January 29, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  3. Bill in Florida

    Teatard Cruz shows his true unpatriotic colors.

    January 29, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  4. Ron

    The generals in Porkistan must be celebratng his nomination too.

    January 29, 2013 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  5. empresstrudy

    So does Elizabeth Warren get BOTH Senate seats for good measure? Why not.

    January 29, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  6. daniel

    Obama picks only the best candidates who care for American as a whole not for handful unlike that of rotten Republican party. 47%, we will never forget what you stand for, ungodly, heartless bunches...

    January 29, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  7. J

    Big news, John. Why the long face?


    January 29, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  8. Min Jones

    I could not be happier I was a part of his campaign effort in the questionable election of the Second Pres. Bush.

    January 29, 2013 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  9. Hawk in texas

    Looks like we still have the most stupid people repesenting us here in texas Cornyn and Cruz are two stumbling blocks that need to go.

    January 29, 2013 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  10. amontagno


    solid choice, knows the international political scene as well as any human on earth

    Yes, solid choice. I think he will do well in this position.

    January 29, 2013 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  11. Chris

    As a Texan, I would like to apologize to the rest of the country for the Texas GOP. We're doing our best to get them out of there as soon as we can.

    January 29, 2013 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  12. Steve

    This doesn't make up for the swiftboat lying. (He served in combat and was beaten by a jerk who used his name to get a slot in the National Guard. Ironic. ) but I hope it helps. As to the Texan who thinks Kerry offered comfort? Nonsense. He told the truth. That war was immoral. As immoral as Iraq deux. Kerry was right and spoke the truth. That means alot.

    January 29, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  13. Jim

    Good man Kerry

    January 29, 2013 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  14. Reeaaally

    94-3!!!! What happened to all the opposition from the repubs? Wow, even McCain voted for him! He!! must have froze over. If Hagel was a democratic Senator, don't you know he'd get the same vote.

    What a disgusting party! The repubs are planning a major overhaul, yeah right, LOL... a new package look, but the same thing inside!!!! Don't fall for it America, we're smarter that that, well maybe not you Katie.

    January 29, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  15. Ken

    Now Kerry can take his do-nothing approach in the U.S. Senate and replicate it as Secretary of State. Of course the bar isn't set very high Hillary had no accomplishments as Secretary of State.

    January 29, 2013 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  16. OldCactus

    Those of us who are old enough to remember the treason of this person you are all so proud of fail to comprehend how you can worship a person like this. Do you love evil and hate good. The swift boaters were people who knew Kerry while he was in Nam ., They didn't do the number on him for political reasons which you have all been told by the democrats. They did the number on him becauise he was a coward who used stolen valor to get sent home and then double crossed every man fighting that war with lies that everyone of them were killing innocent civilians and everyone of them were raping Vietnameese women. He joined the Winter soldier group and along with another wonderful American patriot, Hanoi Jane Fonda protested the war. He went to Paris while the peace tyalks were being held and met with the North Vietnameese representatives and colluded with them against the United States. The man is not a hero, he is a self serving coward and traitor. This type person goes far in the democrat party.

    January 29, 2013 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Now if we can get Castro as secretary of defense and Chavez as joint chief of staff we're all set!

    January 29, 2013 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  18. Bhimrao

    I am simply happy that Kerry was so quickly confirmed. One tussle in the senate less. It appears that Kerry's whole life has been a preparation for this responsibility. When voters did not elect him President, he did not sulk, or become bitter. He continued to serve his country the best way he could. What an inspiring politician. You have my deepest respect Mr. Kerry. Wish you all the best of luck in your new position.

    January 29, 2013 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  19. Don Hill

    To the person who calls himself"the American Texan". When the 13 original colonies were formed, most of those who came to Georgia were misfits, criminals, and generally good for nothings. Georgia re habilitated those that showed promise, and those who could not be 're rehabilitated, were shippef to Texas. I voted for Obama, and I will vote for Hillary, should she decide to run for president in 2016. For the swift boat self richous people posing as Americans, I see them in the same pig pin withtwith the likes of the tea party, and Palin. No substance to either.

    January 29, 2013 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  20. OrganicManLives_N_anOraganicUNiverSE

    Nice one Sniffit.

    January 29, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  21. lovenexal

    Mr. Kerry has played a positive role in Afghanistan war with the help of Pakistan, so we Pakistanis welcome him and expect his more positive role and we expect he ll make it possible for US to make honorable exit from Afghanistan and Hope Pakistan will play its role in this exit, and Pakistan will move toward peace and economic growth..

    January 30, 2013 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  22. Giz

    Yup just what we need more FAIL.

    January 30, 2013 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  23. Andrew

    I was all for Kerry. But now that he has the support of the Party of Crazy, I am no longer sure. There must be something wrong with him afterall.

    January 30, 2013 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  24. VN Veteran

    proof again that we have only compl. Idiots in Govt.
    confirming this phony is proof.

    January 30, 2013 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  25. angel

    Jesus says the end times will be as it was in the days of Noah with all the world sinning,and Revelation says a big part of the sinning will be wars caused by the antichrist,the devil's man.It will be just as it is now only worse,as 1 John 2:18,says,even now there are many antichrists,whereby we know it is the last time.Now as in the last time,all the world believes in and is fighting wars,so the final and worst antichrist can come at any time,nobody knows exactly when so that means it can happen at any time. And even most of the religious who expect to be Raptured out or protected from it believe in wars.

    January 30, 2013 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
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