Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts was easily confirmed by the Senate today as Secretary of State. John Kerry confirmed as secretary of state:
The Senate overwhelmingly approved Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) as the next secretary of state Tuesday afternoon, with three Republican “no” votes.
The vote was 94 to 3, clearing the way for Kerry to formally take over from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday.
Three Republicans voted against Kerry — Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma. [Absent from the vote were Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and John Hoeven, R-N.D. Sen. Kerry voted "present."]
Kerry, 69, was the failed 2004 Democratic candidate for president, but the State Department job represents a long-held ambition for the foreign policy expert. He will become the 68th top U.S. diplomat and the first white man to hold the post since Warren Christopher in 1997.
“His whole life has prepared him for this job,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said on the Senate floor.
Kerry became a trusted diplomatic envoy for President Obama during Obama’s first term, negotiating with Pakistan on behalf of the administration and carrying blunt messages to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Kerry is expected to continue his focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan as secretary, and he pledged last week to renew U.S. efforts toward a Middle East peace settlement.
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Kerry, who will resign his Senate seat to take the Cabinet post, took a victory lap on the Senate floor, shaking hands with colleagues as the vote neared an end. He is expected to make his departing speech on the floor Wednesday.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is also expected to announce whom he is appointing to temporarily fill Sen. Kerry's senate seat on Wednesday. Gov. Patrick said Monday he will set the date of a special election for June 25. The primary will take place on April 30. Democratic U.S. Rep. Edward Markey is the only announced candidate for Kerry's seat so far.