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December 21, 2012

Obama says John Kerry's "entire life" has prepared him for Secretary of State

President Obama announced his pick for Secretary of State Friday at the White House, saying that Mass Sen. John Kerry will need little on the job training.

"In a sense, John's entire life has prepared him for this role," Obama said, noting that Kerry is the son of a Foreign Service officer, served in Vietnam and was chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee.

He's "played a central role in every major foreign policy debate for nearly 30 years," Obama said, adding that "as we turn the page on a decade of war, he understands that we've got to harness all elements of American power and ensure that they're working together -- diplomatic and development, economic and political, military and intelligence, as well as the power of our values which inspire so many people around the world."

 Obama noted he's already called on Kerry's "talents and diplomatic skills on several occasions on complex challenges from Sudan -- in South Sudan to the situation in Afghanistan."

Obama served with Kerry on the Foreign Relations Committee, "under the tutelage of Joe Biden," Obama said. And he joked that, "of course, nothing brings two people closer together than weeks of debate prep" -- Kerry stood in for Mitt Romney during the presidential debate prep.

Obama had wanted UN Ambassador Susan Rice for the job, but Republicans assailed her performance in the aftermath of the attack in Libya and she removed herself from the running. But Obama noted he was "confident" that the Senate would quickly confirm Kerry.


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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