Praise for incoming US secretary of state Kerry

January 25, 2013 - 5:14:43 am

WASHINGTON: US Senator John Kerry 

(pictured) received backslaps and lavish praise from his Senate colleagues at a hearing yesterday that left little doubt he will win easy confirmation as secretary 

of state.

Appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which he has chaired for the last four years, the five-term senator from Massachusetts and Vietnam War veteran was praised by Democrats and Republicans alike.

“I look at you, in being nominated for this, as someone who has almost led their entire life, if you will, for this moment, being able to serve in this capacity,” said Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the top Republican on the panel.

“We’re honoured to welcome you as the president’s nominee for a position you have most-deservedly earned,” said Senator Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat chairing the hearing for the committee, which is still technically chaired by Kerry.

“You will need no introduction to the world’s political and military leaders, and will begin — on day-one — fully conversant not only with the intricacies of US policy, but with an understanding of the nuanced approach necessary,” Menendez added.

Kerry was greeted with backslaps as he arrived for his hearing and bantered easily with senators, wryly noting his role reversal after spending 29 years sitting up on the dais and questioning witnesses.

“I don’t want this to affect your opening questions, but let me say I have never seen a more distinguished and better-looking group of public officials in my life,” he said to widespread laughter.

Several senators said they were certain of his confirmation.