Politics

January 29, 2013

Senate panel approves Kerry nomination

Donna Cassata / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., emerges after a unanimous vote by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approving him to become America's next top diplomat, replacing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

AP

He was one of the early voices calling for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down as the revolution roiled the nation two years ago.

During his tenure, Kerry has pushed for reducing the number of nuclear weapons, shepherding a U.S.-Russia treaty through the Senate in December 2010, and has cast climate change as a national security threat, joining forces with Republicans on legislation that faced too many obstacles to win congressional passage.

He has led delegations to Syria and met a few times with President Bashar Assad, now a pariah in U.S. eyes after months of civil war and bloodshed as the government looks to put down a people's rebellion. Figuring out an end-game for the Middle East country would demand all of Kerry's skills.

The selection of Kerry closes a political circle with Obama. In 2004, it was White House hopeful Kerry who asked a largely unknown Illinois state senator to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic convention in Boston, handing the national stage to Obama. Kerry lost that election to President George W. Bush. Four years later, Obama was the White House hopeful who succeeded where Kerry had failed.

Kerry would be the first man to fill the secretary of state job since Colin Powell eight years ago. Condoleezza Rice served as secretary of state in President George W. Bush's second term, and Clinton has held the post in Obama's first term.

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