Sen. John Kerry, President Barack Obama’s nominee for secretary of state, testifies Thursday at his confirmation hearing that U.S. foreign policy should be defined by a helping hand as well as military strength.
The Massachusetts Democrat discussed Iran, Syria, climate change and a variety of issues with members of the Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing that recalled an unusual American life — son of a diplomat, Navy lieutenant who volunteered for Vietnam, anti-war protester, five-term senator, unsuccessful nominee for president and Obama’s unofficial envoy.
The nearly four-hour hearing also provided an odd juxtaposition as Kerry, a member of the panel for 28 years and its chairman for the last four, sat alone in the witness chair. At one point, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., the incoming chairman who presided, mistakenly referred to Kerry as “Mr. Secretary."
The current secretary, Hillary Clinton, introduced Kerry, calling him “the right choice." Clinton is stepping down after four years.