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John Kerry Nomination: Obama Announces Senator As Pick For Secretary Of State

12/21/2012 01:40 pm ET | Updated Dec 21, 2012

President Barack Obama has nominated Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for Secretary of State.

Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, will replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Kerry became the clear frontrunner for the position when U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration. Rice stepped aside citing concern that the confirmation process would have been "lengthy, disruptive and costly" due to persistent Republican opposition to her response to the Sept. 11 anniversary attack on a U.S. compound Benghazi, Libya.

Kerry has been member of the Foreign Relations Committee for 27 years, the last six as chairman. The senator has traveled extensively in his capacity as intrepid lawmaker and unofficial envoy for Obama, tamping down diplomatic fires in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Egypt, the AP reports.

"He is not going to need a lot of on-the-job training," Obama said during the nomination announcement.

President Barack Obama on Friday announced the nomination of U.S. Senator John Kerry to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, calling him the "perfect choice" to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead.

Obama settled on Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew from consideration last week. He said he expected quick Senate confirmation of the Massachusetts lawmaker.

"As we turn the page on a decade of war, he understands that we have to harness all elements of American power," Obama said at the White House.

Even as Obama put in place one important piece of his revamped national security team, he held off on naming a new defense secretary. The delay comes in the face of a growing backlash from critics of former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, considered a leading candidate to replace Leon Panetta at the Pentagon.

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