Obama nominates John Kerry as top US diplomat

President names Massachusetts senator and former presidential candidate as his nominee to succeed Hillary Clinton.

    US President Barack Obama has nominated Senator John Kerry, a veteran foreign policy hand and former presidential candidate, as his next secretary of state.

    The announcement on the appointment of the Vietnam war veteran who will succeed Hillary Clinton as the top US diplomat was made on Friday.

    Kerry, the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to win easy confirmation from his colleagues in the chamber, and is a well known figure on the world stage.

    The Massachusetts senator has rehabilitated his career since narrowly losing the 2004 presidential race to president George W Bush, after a campaign that included savage attacks on his career as a swift boat commander in Vietnam.

    Kerry's appointment was seen as almost a certainty after UN ambassador Susan Rice pulled out of the running for the job, over Republican attacks on her role in the aftermath of the assault on the US consulate in Benghazi.

    The Massachusetts senator played an important role in Obama's political career, notably by selecting him to give the keynote speech in the 2004 Democratic convention, at which the then unknown Illinois legislator came onto the political scene.

    Kerry also played Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in mock debates staged by the president's team ahead of Obama's successful re-election effort in November.

    "This is an easy one for the Obama administration," said Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane, reporting from Washington. "Kerry is a five-term senator and has pretty much been vetted already."

    Clinton has said she wished to step down after Obama begins his second term in office next month and her replacement is confirmed.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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