President Barack Obama has nominated Senator John Kerry to be the next secretary of state.
At the White House Friday, President Obama praised Kerry as the “perfect” choice to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead. He said Kerry has earned the trust and respect of his Senate colleagues and leaders around the world through his work over the years.
President Obama said there are going to be great challenges ahead, but he is confident that the United States will continue to lead.
Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts has served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has traveled to hot spots around the world from Africa to Pakistan. He is also a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War.
The 69-year-old Kerry ran as the Democratic Party's presidential candidate in 2004, losing that bid to then President George W. Bush.
If approved by the Senate, Kerry will take over from current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who announced she did not plan to continue in the role during Mr. Obama's second term in office.
Clinton fell last week and was diagnosed with a concussion. She has not made any public appearances since then.
Kerry became the leading candidate for the country's top diplomatic post after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration last week. Rice faced heavy criticism from some members of the senate for her public comments following the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Kerry presided over a hearing looking into the Benghazi attack Thursday, criticizing key leaders in the State Department for failing to address security concerns.
“There were clear warning signs that the security situation in Libya had deteriorated and going forward it is important, and I think it is important for all of us to think in terms of going forward, that we need to do a better job of ensuring a free and open dialogue among ambassadors, their embassy security personnel and officials in Washington, where decisions on security, staffing levels and funding are made.
Mr. Obama said he is confident the Senate will approve Kerry's nomination. Confirmation hearings are expected early next year.