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Kerry, Hagel front-runners to lead State, Defense [View All]

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-12 09:41 AM
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Kerry, Hagel front-runners to lead State, Defense
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Kerry, Hagel front-runners to lead State, Defense

By DONNA CASSATA
Associated Press


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic Sen. John Kerry, who unsuccessfully sought the presidency in 2004 and has pined for the job of top diplomat, vaulted to the head of President Barack Obama's short list of secretary of state candidates after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice suddenly withdrew from consideration to avoid a contentious confirmation fight with emboldened Republicans.

The exit of Rice and elevation of Kerry shook up Washington on Thursday and was coupled with the potential for even bolder second-term changes in Obama's national security team next month. Chuck Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, emerged as the front-runner to serve as defense secretary.

The possible selection of Kerry and Hagel would put two decorated Vietnam War veterans - one Navy, the other Army - at State and the Pentagon.

Official word on replacements for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in an Obama Cabinet remake could come as early as next week. The choice of Kerry would open a Massachusetts Senate seat, boosting the prospects for recently defeated Republican Sen. Scott Brown to win back a job in Washington.

Kerry, a senator for nearly three decades and the current Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, has won praise from his Senate Democratic and Republican colleagues and should be confirmed easily, if nominated. He has been Obama's envoy to hot spots such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, the administration's point man in 2010 on a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia and was a stand-in for Republican Mitt Romney during Obama's debate preparation.


http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CABINET_SHUFF...

The Republicans play on Rice/Kerry/Brown looks as though it will succeed.
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