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Reports: Sen. John Kerry to be named secretary of State (+video)

Now that Susan Rice has withdrawn her name, President Obama reportedly will name Sen. John Kerry to take over as secretary of State when Hillary Rodham Clinton resigns.

By Staff writer / December 16, 2012

U.S. Senator John Kerry speaks during a news conference in Islamabad in May, 2011. Press reports say President Obama has decided to nominate Kerry to be the next secretary of state.

Faisal Mahmood/REUTERS

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It looks likely that Sen. John Kerry will be nominated to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is expected to retire from the post as part of President Obama’s second term cabinet reshuffle.

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Several news sources – beginning with ABC News – are reporting that Mr. Obama soon will name the Massachusetts senator and Foreign Relations Committee chairman to take over from Sec. Clinton.

The move is not a surprise, particularly following the withdrawal of United Nations ambassador Susan Rice from consideration for the post. Ambassador Rice has been the target of fierce opposition by Senate Republicans, led by Sen. John McCain, who vowed to block her confirmation.

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Ms. Rice was criticized for her comments shortly after the September attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which included the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other US personnel, including two Navy SEALs.

President Obama had voiced strong support for Rice in his first post-election news conference last month – pointedly taking on Sen. McCain and other Republicans who had accused Rice of twisting early details about the Benghazi attack for political purposes during the presidential campaign.

Rice’s defenders continue to insist that her comments during appearances on Sunday TV talk shows just a week after the attack were based on talking points provided by US intelligence agencies.

More recently, the White House – including Obama – has been less vocal in support of Rice, which some of her more ardent supporters have complained about.

It seemed increasingly clear that the administration was reluctant to expend any more political capital on what likely would be a messy confirmation fight, perhaps leading to defeat at a time when other issues – avoiding the “fiscal cliff,” in particular – were seen as more important.

Unlike Rice, Kerry likely would have no trouble winning the approval of his fellow senators.

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