WASHINGTON Dec 21 President Barack Obama on
Friday announced the nomination of U.S. Senator John Kerry to
replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, calling him the
"perfect choice" to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead.
Obama settled on Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee and the 2004 Democratic presidential
candidate, after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew from
consideration last week. He said he expected quick Senate
confirmation of the Massachusetts lawmaker.
"As we turn the page on a decade of war, he understands that
we have to harness all elements of American power," Obama said
at the White House.
Even as Obama put in place one important piece of his
revamped national security team, he held off on naming a new
defense secretary. The delay comes in the face of a growing
backlash from critics of former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel,
considered a leading candidate to replace Leon Panetta at the