December 22, 2012 8:25:16 PM
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama on Friday nominated Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, one of Washington's most respected voices on foreign policy, as his next secretary of state.
The move is the first in an expected overhaul of Obama's national security team heading into his second term.
As the nation's top diplomat, Kerry will not only be tasked with executing the president's foreign policy objectives, but will also have a hand in shaping them. The longtime lawmaker has been in lockstep with Obama on issues like nuclear non-proliferation, but ahead of the White House in advocating aggressive policies in Libya, Egypt and elsewhere that the president later embraced.
"He is not going to need a lot of on-the-job training," Obama said, standing alongside Kerry in a Roosevelt Room ceremony. "Few individuals know as many presidents and prime ministers or grasp our foreign policies as firmly as John Kerry."
He is expected to win confirmation easily in the Senate, where he has served since 1985, the last six years as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
Kerry would take the helm at the State Department from Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has long planned to leave the administration early next year. Clinton is recovering from a concussion sustained in a fall and did not attend.