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We will broadcast special coverage of both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, starting with the RNC tonight at 8.

Obama Taps Sen. Kerry For Secretary Of State

President Obama and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., at the White House this afternoon.
Mandel Ngan
AFP/Getty Images
President Obama and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., at the White House this afternoon.

President Obama announced this afternoon that he will nominate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to be his next secretary of state.

Kerry's long experience in the Senate ( he was first elected in 1984) and especially in foreign affairs (he chairs the Foreign Relations Committee) mean the senator's "not going to need a lot of on-the-job training," Obama said.

We followed the short appearance at the White House by the president and Kerry and posted some highlights.

Update at 1:50 p.m. ET. Nomination Should "Sail Through":

"This is one nomination we should expect to see sail through" the Senate, NPR's David Welna just said on the air. But because of the break Congress is taking for the holidays and then the business of President Obama's second inauguration, it will likely be late January before Kerry's nomination is voted on, David added.

Update at 1:45 p.m. ET. On The Lighter Side:

Referring to Kerry's role during the 2012 campaign as a stand-in for Republican nominee Mitt Romney during the president's preparation for debates, Obama says "I'm looking forward to working with you rather than debating you."

With that, the president, Kerry, Vice President Biden and Teresa Heinz (Kerry's wife) left. They took no questions and Kerry did not speak.

Update at 1:42 p.m. ET. Hails Kerry's Experience And "Distinguished" Career:

Obama begins his remarks about Kerry by noting the senator's experience as a veteran of the Vietnam War and during a "distinguished Senate career."

"He's not going to need a lot of on-the-job training," the president says.

Update at 1:40 p.m. ET. Obama And Kerry Arrive; President Praises Secretary Clinton:

As he begins his comments, the president praises the work of outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — who is home recuperating from an illness and a fall that her aides say caused a concussion.

Update at 1:37 p.m. ET: The Vice President And Teresa Heinz Arrive:

The White House webcast shows Vice President Biden, and Teresa Heinz (Sen. Kerry's wife) in the room at the White House where the announcement is about to be made.

Our original post (from 10:35 a.m. ET):

Senior administration officials are telling NPR, The Associated Press, The New York Times and other news outlets that President Obama will today announce he is nominating Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to be his next secretary of state.

Kerry's name has been atop most lists of likely successors to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, especially since U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice removed her name from consideration.

Kerry, you'll recall, was the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee. He is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kerry is 69.

Clinton has said for months that she planned to step down early the president's second term.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott
Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.